HIIT Workouts: What Are They and Why Do I Love Them?
HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training.
So if you follow me over on Instagram, you may be aware of my love for HIIT workouts. I’ve never really been one much for long protracted classes like Aerobics, or Step Aerobics which require you to have some semblance of coordination and the ability to instantly know your left from right whilst trying to get your arms to move in sync with your legs. I am a weights girl. I can do the simple movement of the lunge or the squat and more importantly I like things to be done quick. Boom, 15 minutes, workout done and get on with the rest of my day.
So that brings me nicely onto HIIT Workouts: What are they and why do I love them so much? The aim of a HIIT workout is to work as hard as you can for a short amount of time. Then to rest. For Example 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. You work as hard as you can for those 30 seconds then rest to lower your heart rate for 30 seconds. You can, of course, choose any time frame to work/rest for. I just prefer 30 on 30 off as it usually takes me this long to recover before I can even attempt the next workout.
HIIT workouts are an excellent way of burning fat, see why I like them, and unlike a lot of other types of exercise, the practice of raising and dropping your heart rate keeps burning calories long after your workout is over for up to 18 hours! This is achieved by pushing yourself as hard as you can, eg I cannot even move during my rest periods let alone breathe or talk, text or tweet, nothing! Don’t be fooled by the 30-second thing either, if you are doing it right that 30 seconds will feel like 30 minutes by the time you finish!
What exercises should I be doing?
You can do a HIIT workout with many different things. Like the treadmill? Try walking up an incline or sprinting for 30 seconds before going back to a slow walk. A cross trainer fan? (me too) I always stay on level one and bring my rpm up to between 60-70 before dropping back down to low 30’s. 30 seconds on 30 seconds off. Or you can mix it up with some other exercises too. As I tend to do The Body Coach’s HIIT workouts they are usually a combination of, high knees with punches, mountain climbers, squat jumps, lunges, burpees, ab crunches with knee grab, planks, push ups etc. I do these on Facebook or You Tube in my kitchen.
How long should it last?
The idea is that you cram it all in fast so a 15/20 minute workout is usually plenty. If you pick 5 of the exercises mentioned above eg planks, burpees, lunges, ab crunches, high knees then do each one for 30 seconds (or a time of your choosing) maximum effort then 30 seconds rest and repeat 3 or 4 times you are then set for the day.
Who can do it?
Anyone really. You do what you are comfortable with at a pace that works for you. Maximum effort is your maximum effort. My workout partner is much slimmer and fitter than I am so she can do more reps quicker than I can but by putting in as much effort as I can I will still have the same results. Can’t do 30/30? Need longer to recover (like the rest of the day?) try 20/40 and vice versa, don’t need as long a rest just shorten it! A HIIT workout should never be easy it should always be about working as hard as you can.
Why exactly do I love it?
I love the rush of knowing that I have pushed myself as hard as I can and had a really good workout! Have you ever spent hours in the gym, which I do on occasion too, and felt like you haven’t really achieved much? Or been doing that same workout DVD for yonks and struggling to see results? Don’t get me wrong I don’t see dramatic weight loss or shape change personally as my diet is crap! However, I love how I feel when I have worked out and had a good workout too. That endorphin rush is addictive! This is just the type of workout I personally prefer and who wouldn’t want a good quick effective workout? And with the added benefit of calorie burning for hours afterwards too, sold yet?
Do you do HIIT workouts? Or are like me and try a bit if everything (see my update posts, I’m ridiculously fickle when it comes to working out!)