In recent years, HIIT workouts have been taking the exercise world by storm. Personal trainers across the world have incorporated HIIT workouts into their routines and classes. In fact, many trainers have built their careers by exclaiming the benefits of HIIT workouts. If you’re just starting out on your exercise journey, you might be thinking, “what exactly is a HIIT workout?” And more importantly, “how can HIIT workouts improve my fitness levels?“Follow This Extra Life with Bloglovin
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Firstly it should be noted that any form of exercise is good for you. Providing you keep good form and don’t cause an injury, of course.
It’s a sad fact that we are more sedentary now than people would have been a hundred years ago. Improvements in technology have changed the way we eat, sleep, entertain ourselves and work. Simply put, we just don’t move as much as we used to.
Although there are a lot of positive changes with regards to different lifestyles, it is undeniable that we just aren’t getting the same exercise as part of our daily lives. Therefore, it is crucial that we make the effort to get enough exercise each day in order to stay fit and healthy.
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds but there is one workout regime taking the world by storm that can help you to increase your activity levels without having to spend hours in the gym: HIIT WORKOUTS!
What is a HIIT Workout?
“So, What on earth is a HIIT workout?” I hear you ask.
HIIT Workouts, or High Intensity Interval Training, consist of alternating between short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by a short duration of rest. For instance, 45 seconds of star jumps, followed by 15 seconds of recovery.
To create an effective HIIT workout, pick a number of exercises and repeat each round to last 15 to 20 minutes.
E.G: 4 EXERCISES X 5 ROUNDS
Or build a workout of different exercises that can reach a duration of up to 45 minutes.
As a beginner, HIIT sessions are great for flexibility. Begin with a 15-minute workout and build up strength and stamina. Each week add an extra exercise or round for a longer workout whilst also increasing the intensity of each move.
If you’re struggling to create your own routine, there are a number of HIIT workouts available online. If you like the competitive element of following a workout video, turn to The Body Coach, Millionaire Hoy and Caroline Girvan on YouTube. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to work alone with some jams in the background check out this bodyweight HIIT routine.
Who is HIIT for?
Most people will be able to execute HIIT workouts to reap the benefits. However, there are some people who should not perform high-intensity workouts due to their health.
Anyone who suffers from the following should avoid HIIT sessions until their health improves:
- Anyone who is injured or who suffers from heart, joint or back problems
- Anyone with bladder weakness
- Pregnant women, or women in the first 6 months postpartum
- People who do not know how to perform exercises with correct form
The list above is fairly self-explanatory but it must be said that those with health problems could cause more damage to their bodies.
Those new to HIIT sessions or those who are unfit should take things easy at first to get their body used to this kind of exercise.
Simply start off with a 15-minute workout (30 seconds on, 30 seconds recovery) and gradually add to the workout and increase intensity. This will allow the body to become accustomed to high-intensity manoeuvres without causing any injury.
What are the benefits of HIIT workouts?
You might think HIIT is too simple to be effective, but the proven benefits of HIIT workouts cannot be ignored.
Life is chaotic. You might be constantly on the go between working, managing family time or leading a busy social life. Therefore it’s not always possible to free up enough time to visit the gym each week.
HIIT workouts are efficient. Taking as little as 15 minutes to complete, HIIT workouts can easily fit around a busy schedule. Got a free 15 minutes at the beginning of your day or on your lunch? Bust out a HIIT and burn some fat!
Spending 15 minutes of interval training four times a week will achieve more progress than an hour on a treadmill.
You can also boost your aerobic capacity (amount of oxygen consumed during intense exercises) in a fraction of the time with a HIIT workout when compared to endurance training.
We all have a little fat to lose. A calorie-controlled diet and a good fitness routine is the only way to lose fat. Fact.
Like any form of exercise, HIIT burns calories. However, HIIT workouts will burn quite a few more calories than steady state cardio.
And did you know that you continue to burn fat and calories for up to 24 hours AFTER your HIIT workout? This is because the metabolism doesn’t return to normal after an intense workout.
Intense exercises cause the body to use more oxygen than normal thus creating oxygen debt. To return the body to its resting metabolic rate, oxygen needs to be replaced.
Any exercise that requires the body to consume more oxygen will use more energy – thus burning more calories.
NO Equipment or Gym Membership Needed
A HIIT workout is cardio exercises executed with maximum effort. It’s not necessary to use any equipment or possess a gym membership to work up a sweat.
With exercises like burpees, mountain climbers and star jumps you can create an effective at-home workout that elevates the heart rate and you don’t need to spend a penny.
Although, if you do have any equipment at your disposal you can incorporate a set of dumbbells, a treadmill, an elliptical machine or an exercise bike. The same principles of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest would apply.
Feel great after a HIIT Workout
It’s common to feel pretty amazing after completing HIIT workouts and this is attributed to the release of endorphins.
A study released in 2017 shows that higher intensity exercises encourage the brain to release more endorphins than slower exercises. The ‘high’ after a workout makes us feel great which boosts motivation to workout more frequently.
How many days a week should you do HIIT workouts?
HIIT workouts are a great way to keep fit and burn fat. Due to its intense nature, your body will need ample recovery time. However, you may wonder how many days a week should you do HIIT workouts?
Typically three to five HIITs per week will be enough to reap the benefits that HIIT workouts offer. I wouldn’t recommend exceeding five workouts per week as you may end up with an unwanted injury.
It’s clear to see there are many benefits of HIIT routines. You’ll experience better fitness, fat loss and improved mood. You can save time, instead of spending hours in the gym you can complete a 30 minute HIIT workout and burn more energy. You’ll also continue to burn calories for long after your workout has finished.
You don’t need any equipment or a gym membership to carry out a HIIT workout. HIIT workouts can be done at home without exercise equipment. However, if you do want to introduce some extra resistance you can easily purchase some weights, exercise machines or resistance bands.
You will feel amazing after a HIIT workout due to the release of endorphins. This might make you want to do a HIIT workout every day. However, rest is important with any exercise. HIIT included. So if you’re wondering how many days a week should you do HIIT workouts? You should stick to between 3 – 5 days per week to allow your body to recover and avoid injury.
The takeaway of this post is that you should find an exercise that you’ll enjoy which in turn will make you want to do more of it. Personally, I love HIIT workouts and I prefer to do them in the comfort of my own home. Because I love HIIT so much, I’m able to keep on track with my goals!
Do you love HIIT workouts? Do you have another favourite type of exercise? Let us know in the comments!
HIIT Workout FAQ
How many days a week should you do HIIT training?
You should do HIIT workouts between 3 to 5 days per week ensuring you have ample rest periods in between workouts. I.e 2 days working out, 1 day rest. This allows your body to recover.
Are HIIT workouts good for weight loss?
Short bursts of high intensity workouts can be more effective for weight loss than longer less intense workouts.
How long will it take to see results of HIIT Workouts?
You will start to feel the results of HIIT workouts after a week of consistent training. After 90 days you will see good results on your body. They key is to remain consistent. Stick to a steady workout regime of 4 days per week for a sustained length of time to see better results.
Does HIIT burn belly fat?
Your diet will play the biggest factor in burning fat, especially stubborn belly fat. However, burning calories through consistent exercise is crucial. HIIT workouts are an effective way of burning calories and fat.