What Is HIIT And Why It Works?

Hi guys! Today I want to talk about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which has been my fitness routine for almost 2 years. There is a huge buzz around it as it is getting more and more popular now, becoming the new trend. The concept of HIIT is that it makes your heart race faster and require more oxygen, thus burning more fat and boosting your overall aerobic capacity. So let's talk about what is HIIT exactly and why do you need it.Processed with VSCO with a5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a5 preset Processed with VSCO with a5 presetFor me, it is a time-saving alternative to endurance training. Given its short duration (around 30 minutes),  it may be seen as a workout for lazy people at first glance, but I'm hurrying to assure you it's  quite the opposite. In fact, if I were a lazy person (which I'm definitely not), I would prefer doing 2 hour of regular gym training (1 hour cardio and 1 hour weights), rather than HIIT. Why? Because it is about very strong focus, commitment and endless motivation.

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HIIT is about 100% effort and giving everything out for a short interval and then having a short recovery period. In other words, short intervals of very intense activities are followed by complete rest or low-intensity interval. Think of sprinting at your maximum speed on the treadmill for a minute and then walking or resting completely for another minute. Repeating these intervals for 15 minutes is a very effective way of fighting fat, increasing overall aerobic capacity and having a stronger and healthier heart.  Let's go through the benefits of HIIT below:

Faster Metabolism: HIIT keeps your heart rate up and increases your metabolism, which means burning more fat in less time and even after the session is over (up to 48 hours).  This after-burn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) . So you get more fat burned doing a 15-minute HIIT than jogging on the treadmill for an hour.

Burns fat, adds muscle: In contrast to cardio training which make you lose muscle when overdone, HIIT workouts use your body weight (as well as additional weights, if you want) and thus allow you to gain muscles and lose fat.

Flexibility: HIIT is very flexible as it doesn't require any gym equipment unless you want to go a level up and thus can be done anywhere. Usually it lasts from 15 to 30 minutes, so it is also ideal for people with tight schedules. You are also flexible to choose your own workouts and alternate however you want ( for example, you may choose 20 squats, 20 lunges and 20 burpees and repeat them for 5 minutes 3 times).

Good for the health: Pushing yourself out of your aerobic zone to a new level where you think your heart is going to jump out of your chest is what helps to have a stronger and healthier heart. In addition to lowering body fat, it also stabilizes blood pressure. HIIT also contributes to lower blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity.

Very Challenging: For those who like challenges and don't want to stick to boring cardio sessions, HIIT is an ideal type of workout. It is not the same as you can choose your own workouts or choose one from a variety of online options. You will never get bored with your workout and will constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.

To summarize, HIIT gives at least same health benefits (if not twice much) as other exercise forms in a shorter period of time thus is very efficient, yet very difficult to perform.

XOXO watercolor

                                                                           - Lucy H.