Before I get into my top reasons for loving this form of training so much, let’s first establish:
WHAT IS HIIT?
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. A HIIT workout mixes shorts bursts of activity with even shorter rest periods. It involves working to your maximum capacity during the short bursts of activity, hence the use of “high intensity” to describe those intervals.
HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work-to-rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. For example, you work for 40 seconds at your max and rest for 20, repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets.
WHY I LOVE IT
1. TIME EFFECTIVE
When it comes to my workouts, I am always looking for training methods that are as effective as possible – in as short amount of time as possible. As a mom, I have to be super inventive with my time in order to juggle everything in a day. This involves maximizing my time in the moments I do not have the kids with me or when they are napping. This is why I love a good HIIT workout, as they can range anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes and you’re done!
2. FAT LOSS & MUSCLE BUILDING
So many women (and men) want to know: what is the best workout for burning fat – fast? While I am not an advocate of quick fixes, I think it is important to know what is most effective, instead of focusing on the need for fast results. Many assume that your surest way into your pair of skinny jeans involves cardio — heart-pumping, sweat-inducing, long ass, drawn out cardio sessions. Sure, cardio plays a big role in a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not the most effective way to shed fat, if done over long & drawn out sessions. While this type of cardio is great for raising your heart rate, it does not engage and build muscle in the way HIIT does. In fact, it causes you to eat into your hard earned muscle, which you need to burn even more fat – at rest as it raises your resting metabolic rate (RMR)! So while the number on the scale may go down, that does not mean you will be left with zero fat left on your body. Remember – muscle is denser and therefore heaver than fat. The main reason weighing yourself is not an accurate measure of improvement of any kind.
DRAWN OUT CARDIO vs. HIIT FOR FAT LOSS
In my experience with clients and with what works for me – the most effective way to train to maintain lean muscle mass, while shedding fat involves a combination of both resistance training and high intensity interval training (HIIT.) It’s a pretty simple formula:
Build lean muscle through resistance training + burn fat stores with shorter more explosive HIIT cardio sessions that help to preserve and build muscle mass, while burning fat stores simultaneously. Better yet, do your resistance training first, followed by a HIIT cardio after. (This I will have to explain further in another article.)
3. CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE
You can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, including running, swimming, and cycling, as well as strength training with exercises like burpees, squats, and push-ups. So whether you want to do these workouts at home, outdoors or at the gym is completely up to you.
4. YOU NEVER ADAPT OR PLATEAU
Our bodies are built for survival. Therefore, a 30-minute jog that burns 400 calories probably won’t burn the same amount of calories 6 months later, as your body and fitness levels will adapt to the activity and use its fuel more efficiently. This means it will burn fewer calories, and you will reach a fat loss plateau quickly. HIIT on the other hand is unpredictable, seeing that you will only work harder as your fitness levels increase during the high intensity portion of the workout, making it impossible for your body to plateau.
5. AFTERBURN EFFECT
In simplest terms, the “afterburn effect” refers to the calories you continue to burn after exercising.
It is also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.) During this process, our bodies use up extra energy (calories) after HIIT workouts to help us recover, cool down and deal with the hormonal changes spiked by exercise. Therefore, the more explosive the workout, the longer the afterburn effect and the more calories burned.
Years ago, I went from long and tedious steady state cardio sessions that took my training times to up to one and a half hours (hating every minute) to adding this type of training to my workout schedule 2 -3 times per week. Try it, I promise you – just as I haven’t, you will not look back!
To download my 20 Minute Cardio HIIT Workouts, click HERE.