Winter got you down? Tired of not being able to run outside? Only have 20 minutes to workout? Well my friends, high intensity interval training is for you! Read on to find out why...
#1. HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule- whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or get in shape for a fast approaching vacation. Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training, 3 times a week, than you can jogging on the treadmill for an hour. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. (Hint Hint.. it will work wonders for your planned 5 and 10ks this summer!).
#2. Burn More Fat! Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, the effect of the intense exertion kicks your body's repair cycle into hyper drive..what does this mean in English? You burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you would a steady run.
#3. Healthy Heart. Most people aren't used to pushing into the anaerobic zone ( that lovely zone where you cant breath and your heart is going to explode). In this case, extreme training produces extreme results. One 2009 study showed that after 8 weeks of HIIT workouts, subjects could run TWICE as long as they could before the study, maintaining the same pace.
#4. No Equipment needed... Running, biking, jump roping, rowing, squatting all work great for HIIT, but you do not need any equipment to do it. High knees, foot fire, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges or squats will work to get your heart rate up fast. Some equipment like dumbbells can actually make HIIT less effective because you want the focus on your heart!
#5. Lose Weight, not Muscle. Anyone who has been on a restricted caloric intake knows its hard to not lose muscle mass while losing fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their muscle while using fat as the main energy source... torching that unwanted fat!
#6. Increase Metabolism. In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulated production of your human growth hormone by up to 450% during the 24 hours after your workout. Human growth hormone is responsible for increased caloric burn and also slows the aging process down. Win win!
#7. Do it anywhere! Legit, anywhere. Your yard, your office, your bathroom. It doesn't matter. Go to maximal effort for a short time followed by recovery time and repeat. You can form it to adapt to whatever time and space constraints you need.
#8. Its hard, and challenging. HIIT is not a workout you can do while reading or talking to a friend. Because the work is so short, you will be working hard the whole time. The trade off is that this offers seasoned exercises a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. Plus, you will not get bored :)