How HIIT is Better for Burning Calories, Saving Time and Strengthening Your Cells!
Almost everyone wishes they were in better shape. Most of us could do with losing a few pounds and we’d all like to have six pack abs. The problem is that working out takes a lot of time and effort and those are two things that are hard to come by these days.
According to experts like Joe Wicks and sites like Breaking Muscle, high intensity interval training is the solution to all our problems. But just what is HIIT and why is it so popular all of a sudden?
What is High Intensity Interval Training?
High Intensity Interval Training is a form of exercise designed to burn fat and tone muscle in a fraction of the time that could be accomplished with conventional ‘steady state’ cardio.
As the name suggests, this form of training involves splitting a cardio session into ‘intervals’. That means you’ll be alternating between high intensity (90%+ Max Heart Rate) and low intensity (~75% MHR); sprinting for a short one minute burst and then recovering with 2 minutes of power walking for instance.
The precise way that you break the session down can vary according to personal preference and goals (check out the brutal Tabata) but the general idea is to force your body into an ‘anaerobic state’ during the high intensity burst.This means you’re training too hard for your aerobic system to keep up and therefore depletes glycogen stores in the muscles. This then means that your body will be forced to burn fat at a higher rate subsequently, as that will be its only source of energy. As a result, you get a nice ‘afterburn effect’ that enables you to carry on burning more calories even once you’ve stopped training. This can continue for several hours!
In any case, in order to have an effective HIIT workout, you must be equipped with a heart rate monitor. For a typical HIIT class with multiple participants a heart rate training system will optimize the overall workout efficiency and experience.
HIIT is something of a fad right now but unlike Pokémon Go, this one is here to stay. Here are five reasons that HIIT is the future of cardio:
1) It’s Quicker
The thing that attracts so many people to HIIT workouts in the first place is just how quickly they’re able to see results. Typically, you can expect around 20 minutes of HIIT to be comparable to 40-50 minutes of jogging. Seeing as most of us claim we don’t have time to work out, that’s a big deal!
2) It Can be Done Anywhere
Likewise, HIIT has the considerable advantage of being versatile enough to be used in a hotel room with no equipment. You can use things moves like mountain climbers, high knees or skipping using the HIIT format and really burn calories.
And it will become apparent just what a big advantage this is the first time you’re thinking of going running and then the heavens open up…
3) It Doesn’t Cannibalize Muscles
Guys wanting to get bodies like Men’s Health cover models need to both burn fat and build muscle at the same time. This is unfortunately very difficult as in many ways, these two goals involve entirely different activities. One example of this is that steady-state cardio actually breaks down muscle by producing more cortisol and myostatin in response to a dip in blood sugar.
Fortunately, HIIT doesn’t seem to have the same effect, which makes it the perfect cardio to add to a resistance routine. This is particularly true if you combine the HIIT itself with some form of resistance, perhaps by using battle ropes or by using a stationary bike on a high setting. This is called ‘concurrent training’ and is great for melting fat while maintaining muscle.
4) It Has Other Health Benefits
HIIT isn’t just about losing weight, it actually has many other benefits too. For example, HIIT might be able to improve your energy levels by upgrading your VO2 max (the volume of oxygen you can use) or enhancing the effectiveness of your mitochondria (the parts of the cell that provide us with usable energy). Healthy mitochondria can also help to prevent oxidative stress in the cells and may even improve IQ. HIIT is just generally very good for you then with benefits that go beyond the purely aesthetic!
5) It’s Fun… Sort Of
Okay, so maybe fun is the wrong word. HIIT is rather brutal. While that might sound like a bad thing, it can actually be highly motivating. People tend to like workouts when they actually feel like they’re doing something. The problem with a lot of cardio routines that you can buy on DVD is that they’re too tepid to really feel like they’re having any effect. When you try HIIT though, you will know about it. This makes it more rewarding in a way and that means you’re more likely to stick at it!
With all that in mind, it’s clear that HIIT is here to stay and is likely to become more and more prevalent in the coming years. That doesn’t mean that there’s no place for steady state cardio any more but simply that HIIT is something you should definitely add to your regime.