hiit workout

How HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Fitness

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?

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How HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Fitness

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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 CoachMillionaire 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.

Saving Time

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.

Fat Burning

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.

Conclusion

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!

How HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Fitness

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.

16 thoughts on “How HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Fitness”

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      HIIT workouts are great to get the blood pumping and combined with some weights will take your fitness to new heights! I hope you do get started up again and come back and let us know how you feel 🙂

  1. HIIT workouts are fabulous. Thank you for this post and encouraging people to try these. I’ve done some fabulous workouts both in the gym and at home. I also do a type of HIIT to get faster with my running. I run faster for a short time, then slow it down to an easy jog, then repeat. Sometimes I pick lampposts to do this, sometimes I set a timer on my watch. It’s great. HIIT also keeps my attention and prevents boredom.

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      I LOVE a good HIIT workout and it’s always good to spread the good vibes to everyone else 🙂
      That’s such a good idea about using lampposts instead of timers. I’ll be honest though, I’m not much of a runner but I do love some star jumps, squats and quick knees 🙂

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      If you don’t have much time on your hands but want a really effective cardio or bodyweight workout then this is the ticket for you 🙂

  2. I totally agree with your post! HIIT workouts are the best way to stay fit and not spend your life in the gym – a busy mom’s best friend!

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      Oh absolutely, I don’t have kids, but I also don’t want to spend my life in the gym. So for me this is the best way to keep fit but also fits in with my lifestyle 🙂

  3. Amy @ The Kent Krew

    Yes! I love HIIT workouts, and I know so many people get overwhelmed by the name alone, they see it as something wild. But it is one of the best ways to burn tummy fat!

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      I think the name does seem scary and I’ll be honest, when I first heard about it I was a bit frightened too but when I actually completed the first session I was thrilled. Sometimes trying new things can be daunting but the sense of achievement afterwards is totally worth it!

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      That’s exactly the way to do it. Balance a HIIT with other forms of exercise. It gets the blood pumping and the endorphins rushing. I love it so much 😀

  4. Amanda Bradley

    There are so many great benefits of HIIT workouts! My go-to exercise is always running and this type of workout is also easily adapted for running. The endorphins from cardio definitely keep me coming back! Thanks for this very helpful post!

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      Honestly, good for you. I can’t run to save my life and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do properly. I just can’t though. But HIIT is very easily workable with running. Simply run as fast as you can for 30 seconds then walk or jog for 30 seconds. As Patricia said, she sometimes uses lamp posts as her measurement. Whichever works 😀

  5. This is such a great and informative post! Thanks so much for sharing all these information about HIIT training.
    I personally rarely do HIIT as I feel like my body doesn’t really like it and doesn’t handle it well. Slower paced workouts work so much better for my body. But it’s good once in a while xx

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      As much as I love HIIT, it really isn’t for everyone and if your body can’t handle it then you are totally right to avoid it and do what works for you. Like I’ve said, I really cannot run. I can’t so although I’d love to be able to run the length of myself one day I just know that it’s unlikely to happen. Good for you for putting your body first though, everyone is different and you have to do what’s right for you.

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