HIIT or high-intensity interval training isn’t something new. If you are indulging in dynamic sports like basketball, football, or tennis, then you are doing HIIT. It is a known fact that one gets better results from dynamic sports than from usual cardio. But, if you can’t find a place for playing dynamic sports or simply don’t like them, you can still get their advantage by experiencing their very essence through HIIT.
How to do HIIT?
HIIT usually involves doing regular cardio exercises but in definite pattern. For example, the most common type of HIIT would be sprinting at the top of your pace for 40 meters and then doing a brisk walk or jogging for like 3-4 minutes. Doing 10 continuous sets of this would be a very good HIIT workout. You can also do it on the treadmill by following the same pattern.
In theory, HIIT is the type of workout where you do a certain high-intensity workout for a short period of a time and after that rather than relaxing you switch to a lower intensity workout. You do this till you have completed a certain number of sets or (as it usually happens) till you are completely exhausted.
Advantages of HIIT
HIIT can give you an intense workout that usual cardio cannot, and you would get the results within a fraction of time. That’s not all, HIIT has many other advantages. For your reference here are 8 scientifically proven advantages of HIIT over normal cardio:
It burns more calories in lesser time
According to research, HIIT burns 25 to 30% more calories when compared to doing the same activity in a non-HIIT manner. Moreover, you perform the same activity within 1/3 time. HIIT gives you the opportunity of burning more calories in lesser time
It leads to improved endurance
While doing HIIT, you exert and reach your limit very quickly. This initiates a body development that ultimately makes your body develop a very high level of endurance. You would feel sore on the first couple of days of starting HIIT, but once you get used to it, your endurance would be better than ever before. This is something you would never be able to achieve doing just normal cardio. Intensity Interval Training is a must if you are an athlete.
It’s good for your heart
According to a study, HIIT pushes you more easily into anaerobic zone. It is the moment when you feel like you have lost your breath and your heart is pounding faster and faster. This initiates healthy blood flow and ultimately leads to better cardiac health.
It helps you in fat burning
For people targeting weight loss, HIIT is a blessing. It helps you lose up to 2 KGs of body fat within just 12 weeks, that too without introducing any change your diet. However, the effectiveness of the exercise might vary depending upon the percentage of body fat one has. As a rule, obese people are most likely to experience better results than the others.
HIIT might improve VO2 max
According to a study of people suffering from type two diabetes people doing interval, walk Showed increased levels of VO2 max in their body, while the ones doing normal walk had almost the same VO2 max. VO2 max is a measure of how effectively your body utilizes Oxygen. A higher value of it is an indicator of good health.
Lose fat not muscle
Normal cardio exercises have often been blamed because they not only make you lose fat but you also lose muscle. This can be easily avoided by HIIT as it lets you combine cardio weight training in a single exercise, and thus preserving muscle mass. This would help you in making a transition directly from a bulky guy to a muscular guy. Otherwise, if you are doing normal cardio, first of all, you lose weight and become skinny, and then you start doing weight training and gain muscle. In this case, you’d stand a higher chance of injuries as your body is too weak when you are starting weight training.
It helps in reducing blood sugar
According to many studies, not only HIIT helps in reducing blood sugar, it also improves insulin resistance. HIIT has shown particularly positive results in the case of Type II diabetics.
It can reduce heart rate and blood pressure
There are a significant amount of researches that HIIT leads to a stable heart rate. Doing HIIT 20 minutes a day can lead to better result compared to doing 30 minutes of similar cardio exercise for more number of days. Some researches say that it is even better than moderately intense weight training in this respect.
Who should not do HIIT?
If you are too fat
Despite its effectiveness, HIIT is not completely without risks. It is an intense workout and puts your body to a lot of stress. If you are morbidly obese then you should do HIIT only after losing a chunk of your fat by doing normal cardio exercises on a treadmill or by swimming.
If you have a history of injuries
If you suffered injuries in the past it is best you avoid it altogether. Working out is good only as long as you can do it regularly. You can also do HIIT after making sure that the exercises that you choose don’t put too much of stress on the muscle region where you suffered the injury.
If you are too old
If you above 50 and you don’t have much experience with workouts or you have been out of touch for long, HIIT isn’t the right option to start. As stated earlier, it is a very intense workout, and bones which soften due to old age might not be able to bear it. So, if you think you are too old for it, its best to avoid it.
Who is best suited for HIIT?
It’s best for people who want to use their time effectively and who find cardio too boring. If you can’t go out to play and even can’t go to the gym, there are plenty of HIIT exercises that you can do at home. But, no matter what decision you make, take the advice of your coach or a trained professional trainer first. Stay safe. Stay healthy.