HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the buzzword on everyone’s post-Christmas-binge-guilt / new-year-new-me-detox’s lips. Everyone from David Beckham the cast of Made in Chelsea is endorsing this way of training for burning body fat.
But the hell is it?!
HIIT involves short bursts of maximal effort, followed by recovery periods of low-intensity activity or rest. Noah Neiman (the master trainer behind Barry’s Bootcamp) calls it a “specific way of sequencing the intensity of your workout”. For example, 20 seconds of work followed by 40 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 15-20 minutes and that’s it, your work out is done. Simple.
But what’s the benefit?
The intensity of the workouts is designed to whip your body into shape. A massive number of studies have shown that short HIIT workout sessions are more effective at improving heart health, burning calories and building muscle than much longer, moderate-intensity workouts. If you’re still not convinced, one recent study even found that 90 minutes of HIIT is equivalent to five hours of endurance training (you know, like marathon runs) in terms of decreasing the risk or heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
Another amazing benefit of HIIT is that the calorie burn continues for up to 18 hours after the workout is done. This is known as the after-burn effect, where your body is working hard to repay the oxygen debt in your system and restore itself to a resting state. During this time your metabolic rate is elevated, so your body burns more calories and therefore more fat. So you’re burning way more calories that if you exercise at a steady pace as they just don’t trigger the same response for this type of continuous burn.
But how can I make HIIT session fit into my routine?
This is the best part. HIIT principles can be applied to any cardio machine or exercise, such as a treadmill, cross-trainer, rowing machine or exercise bike or simply as a run in your local park. For example, alternating between 20-second sprints and 40-second walks, or anything along those lines. A healthy balance of high and low-intensity movements is all it takes.
I got into HIIT after my sister Georgia, registered nutritionist and the nutrition adviser for The Body Coach, introduced me to this new and innovative way to work out. I’m in and out the gym in half an hour which is perfect in order to fit into the hectic life of a uni student.
So no more Buts, you now know the science behind the buzzword. Whether you enjoy your workout or only enjoy the body you’ll get after this workout, I promise you HIIT won’t disappoint. So good luck and let me know how you found your HIIT workout!