Have you ever read a fitness magazine and came over the abbreviation HIIT? Perhaps you over heard people talking and mentioning HIIT? HIIT is a very popular form of exercise and I guarantee that you are missing out if you are not aware of it. By the end of this article, I am certain you will understand what HIIT really is and why it is so popular.
What is HIIT?
HIIT also called “Tabata” is an abbreviation for High Intensity Interval Training. The core purpose of HIIT is to maintain both high and low heart rates within a workout session at different times. High Intensity Interval Training therefore involves alternating between periods of very intense exercise followed by a short period of low intensity exercise. HIIT for instance could involve one going on a treadmill and running at his/her maximum speed for 30 seconds and then reducing the speed of the treadmill to walking speed for 60 – 90 seconds.
Who should do it?
Before introducing you to HIIT’s benefits, I would like to make sure that the right people are doing HIIT. Because HIIT is a very intense form of exercise, there are certain audiences who are strongly not recommended to follow a HIIT program for health and safety reasons. I do not recommend HIIT for people over the age of 50, people who had or are having respiratory problems (e.g. asthma), people who have or had previous cardiac problems. I actually advise beginners to try a simplified form of HIIT so they can benefit from the advantages without being exposed to risks.
Advantages of HIIT
Now moving onto the advantages, HIIT is a form of very efficient exercise that will practically get you fitter in less time. While doing HIIT, you are hitting a high heart rate in the intense section of the workout followed by a lower heart rate in the lower intensity part as this is proven to be efficient. HIIT is known for its ability to boost your metabolic rate; it has been confirmed several times that just less than four minutes of HIIT can burn at least 200 calories. HIIT improves your endurance: an experiment over the course of 8 weeks was taken out involving people cycling using HIIT. After 8 weeks the participants were able to at least double the distance they pedaled! Remembering the fact that HIIT can be done without any equipment or machines, HIIT also burns fat and not muscle unlike other forms of cardio e.g., running . Because HIIT is anabolic whereas running is catabolic, it improves muscular strength. Researchers in the USA carried out an experiment regarding HIIT’s effect on cardiovascular disease; it concluded that HIIT dramatically reduced the chances of teenagers getting cardiovascular disease. HIIT improves insulin sensitivity meaning that your muscles will easily absorb sugars instead of the sugars being converted into fat.
How many times should you do HIIT?
HIIT can be quite stressful on the body, I therefore recommend a person to carry out HIIT no more than 3 times a week with a rest day between every session. This prevents the eating up of muscles and the reduction of a person’s metabolic rate. On the rest days, I would recommend either taking a rest or doing weight training with a proper diet. I would like to stress the diet part here as there is no point exercising if your diet is bad.