Updated: Mar 11
Do you enjoy long treadmill jogs and sessions on the stationary bike? Probably not.
Even worse? You probably feel guilty for not enjoying such fitness activities.
Luckily, there is an alternative that takes less time, engages you much more, and leads to significant weight loss.
HIIT: The Missing Element In Most People’s Training
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and refers to an exercise modality that brings numerous health benefits, promotes weight loss, and builds muscle. Of course, the effects will also depend on your nutrition.
The objective is to perform short bursts of intense activity, followed by brief recovery periods. For example, running fast for 30 seconds then walking for a minute is one form of high-intensity interval training.
What Benefits Does High-Intensity Interval Training Offer?
1. Weight Loss
One of the most notable HIIT benefits is that the activity promotes weight loss. The effect is possible because interval training is incredibly demanding and burns lots of calories during a workout. It’s not uncommon to burn more than 200 calories in a single ten-minute session. In addition, HIIT boosts your metabolism for up to 24 hours after training, leading to even more calories burned.
2. Athleticism and Muscle Gain
Another benefit of HIIT is that, unlike cardio, pushing yourself to your limits is a great way to build muscle and improve your athleticism. Numerous studies find that interval training leads to significant muscle gains in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Upper-body-specific workouts, such as those you perform on a rowing machine or a battle rope, can promote back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps development, similar to the gains you can experience from strength training.
3. Fun and Engagement
The third notable benefit of HIIT is that it is much more fun and engaging than other forms of exercise. Fun might not seem all that important, but enjoying your workouts is essential for staying consistent in the long run. You can follow a dull training program for so long before you lose all interest and give up.
The fourth significant benefit of HIIT is that this type of exercise takes much less time. Instead of spending 40 to 60 minutes on training your muscles and burning enough calories, you can achieve a similar effect in half, even a third the time. The effect is possible because of training density. HIIT condenses a lot of work in less time, resulting in you doing more work per unit of time.
How to Use High-Intensity Interval Training for Weight Loss
Before sharing some specifics, it’s important to note that HIIT is quite demanding, and you should approach it carefully. Pushing yourself too hard from the start can get you overtrained or injured.
The great thing about HIIT is that you don’t need unique tactics to leverage the modality. You can start with three weekly sessions, spaced at least one day apart, to allow for good muscle recovery. For example, you can train on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The most critical element of effective interval training is to push yourself enough. Workouts might not be too long, but they have to be challenging to make a difference. The beauty of HIIT is that the principles apply to all sorts of exercises: running, jumping rope, riding a bike, and much more.
You should also warm-up well before each workout and ramp up the intensity gradually. Doing so will prepare your body for each workout, put you in the mindset for training, and protect you from injuries.