H.I.I.T. is common in the exercise/fitness world, but if you aren't familiar with it, it's simply a workout that alternates between high intensity exercises and low/medium intensity exercises (the recovery period). For example, sprinting for 30 sec and walking for 1 min.
One of the biggest advantages of incorporating HIIT into your workout regimen is that it is much more effective than spending endless hours doing normal cardio. Because HIIT is done at a higher intensity, it increases your metabolism, burns fat quicker and improves your cardio endurance.
Other benefits are:
- It's quick and convenient. HIIT workouts are done for shorter time periods, about 5-30 mins and so can fit into a busy schedule. "I'm too busy to exercise" is no longer an excuse to skip exercising!
- It can be done with little to no equipment. HIIT can be done at the gym using the bike, rowing machine, treadmill etc. If you have no access to a gym, running and plyometric-like exercises such as squat jumps, high knees, mountain climbers etc can also be done.
- You continue to burn more fat and calories after a HIIT workout, very effective in weight loss. Win!
Here are three ways I've used HIIT in my fitness regimen/weight loss:
- During hectic exam periods, I would do some high intensity exercises e.g. squat jumps, high knees, etc. in the mornings for 10 mins. This made me more awake. And if I felt tired while studying, I would just do the 10 min workout again during one of my study breaks. Much better than reaching for the caffeine!
- I also used HIIT as a warm-up prior to strength training. I would usually do this on the bike - an example would be 30 sec sprint cycle and the 60 sec rest of normal-paced cycle and repeat 9 more times. My thighs KILLED after this.
- I haven't renewed my gym membership so recently I've been exercising at home. There are an abundant number of HIIT videos on the web - my personal favourites are FitnessBlender videos. They have so many to choose from - so pick one and get moving!
To reap the real benefits of HIIT, go HARD during the bouts of high intensity, working to your max effort and aim to do it about three times a week.