Is this you? You exercise and you enjoy your workouts. But you want to move to the next step.
It’s not that you want to do a whole lot more exercise. It’s just that you want it to be at a higher level. More intense. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is for you.
Or is this you? You know you don’t take as much exercise as you should. You just don’t enjoy it much, or you can’t find the time, or you’ve been away from it for a while, perhaps put on a bit of weight, and don’t know how to get back into the habit.
But you would like to put this right. HIIT is for you.
Why HIIT is for You
You want to make the best of your time when exercising. You also want to get as much out of it as is possible.
Let’s start with a fact. Even if you are fit, working out as maximal intensity for an extended amount of time is just mot physiologically possible.
Starting out, you will soon reach your limit. As you get fitter you will be able to keep going at a higher level for a longer period of time than when you were starting.
But no matter how fit you are, you cannot work at your maximum for a long period as your maximum will have moved far beyond where it was in the beginning.
There is a clear lesson from this. Working out using ever tougher routines for longer durations is not the best use of the time or the effort you are putting in.
This is particularly the case if you goal is weight loss. Working longer won’t help you to shed fat faster. You need to rethink your fitness plan.
High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT or HIT – is a much more effective way to go about it.
What is HIIT?
A HIIT routine involves working at a higher intensity but for a much shorter period of time than traditional routines.
The routine is composed of high intensity moves that target all parts of the body. These are undertaken quickly and in quick succession for short periods of time.
However, an essential element of HIIT is that there are frequent short rest periods between the exercises.
These rest are long enough to allow sufficient recovery to enable you to undertake the next exercise in the routine but as sufficiently short to prevent your body cooling down or your heart rate slowing. Think ‘just enough time to catch your breath’.
Typically, an exercise and rest period will together take about 1 minute in total and the full routine will be done in less than 20 minutes, including short warm-up and cool-down periods. However, this is flexible.
A further element of HIIT is that it aims to minimise the requirement for special equipment, although some basic equipment such as a floor mat, towel, basic weights and perhaps a skipping rope may be used. Some way to time your routing precisely will also be required.
HIIT also aims to avoid complexity in terms of the exercises. Each exercise typically includes four or less simple movements so as to enable you to move quickly between the exercises without set-up or mistakes.
But it’s important that the moves are done correctly so as to get the best out of the routine while avoiding injury.
The sequencing of the exercise within the routine is also relevant so as to allow you to alternate between aerobic exercises focussed on endurance and resistance exercises to build strength and balance. Of course, some exercises include elements of both.
The routine should also target all the major muscle groups in the body although this can be customised to meet the requirements of each individual.
Getting Started with HIIT
The aim of HIIT is to help you to lose body fat while retaining body mass, strengthen your cardiovascular system and develop your ability to endure a high level of intensity activity for a longer period.
And it is designed in a way that fits in with a busy life but does not require specialised equipment, a lot of preparation, or expensive gym memberships.
However, this does not mean you can just launch into doing HIIT.
The whole purpose is to improve the efficiency with which you are exercising by making the maximum of the time and effort you are putting in.
To achieve this it is important that the routines are designed correctly with the proper exercises. It is also important that each exercise is performed correctly and that the time discipline is enforced.
Furthermore, similar to most other exercise routines, HIIT requires that it is supported by a correct diet and lifestyle.
In fact, paying attention to your diet is even more important for HIIT that most types of exercise.
The results obtained with all exercises – whether it be weight loss or muscles gain – depend crucially on diet. This is true with HIIT. But it is also important that you follow a correct diet in order to be able to undertake this type of exercise.
High intensity is not easy. But without intensity HIIT is only a short workout. You will see limited progress compared to other types of exercise.