When talking to our weight loss patients, we find most people have a love-hate relationship with exercise. Oftentimes this is because they haven’t found something they truly enjoy.
We say exercise and automatic thoughts go to counting down the minutes on the dreaded treadmill. Who really wants to walk in place for an hour? You literally are going nowhere! Seriously though, the treadmill can be a good workout BUT there are so many other options out there for exercise that could even make you EXCITED to do it!
One exercise growing rapidly in popularity is High Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT). HIIT workouts are short bursts of higher intensity exercise, usually at about 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, followed by a brief low-intensity activity. The workouts can vary in lengths of time, sometimes as short as 8 minutes and usually no longer than 20 minutes.
HIIT workouts can be done on a treadmill, bike, swimming, etc. by incorporating short sprints to get the heart rate to that 80-95%, but some of the more popular HIIT workouts are those that involve many different varied movements both with just bodyweight and/or added weights. A couple of examples of this kind of workout are F45 and 9Round!
So why incorporate this kind of training? What are the benefits of high intensity interval training?
1. Burn more calories in less time: As mentioned previously, HIIT workouts are usually fairly short but the amount of calories burned in those short bursts of higher intensity are greater than a steady pace exercise for longer duration. Need an added bonus and to better understand the benefits of HIIT? For up to 24 hours after your HIIT workout, your body is still burning more calories to aid in your body’s repair cycle!
2. You will stick with it: If you enjoy something, you will more than likely continue to do it! Because of the varied movements in HIIT workouts, it keeps you more interested all the while working different muscle groups!
3. It’s good for your health: Exercise in general will strengthen your heart (after all it is a muscle too)! People who exercise often and more vigorously have the lowest risk for heart disease. Due to pushing yourself harder in HIIT workouts, one of the benefits of high intensity interval training is that your heart will be beating faster helping blood vessels to stay flexible and open!
4. Increase your metabolism: One of the best ways to boost your metabolism is to exercise! HIIT workouts are especially helpful because oftentimes you will be incorporating some strength training in the workouts. One of the benefits of HIIT is that muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, even after you stop working out!
5. Lose fat, not muscle: If you have tried weight loss and dieting in the past, you know some of your loss may come from muscle, but as mentioned above, many HIIT workouts involve weight training so you are less likely to lose muscle!
6. Convenient and challenging: More benefits of high intensity interval training workouts are that they can solely be done with YOUR body! You don’t have to have any equipment to get a good workout. Whether you do speed intervals outside or do a circuit that involves squats, push-ups and sit-ups, you can pretty much do it anywhere! BUT you need to push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and get that heart rate pumping a little faster!
Whether your goals are weight loss, build muscle or overall get healthier, high intensity interval training can help you get there! Think about it this way, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!
*If you have health concerns, always consult your doctor before starting a new workout regimen.