As the name suggests, High intensity interval training (HIIT) is high intensity training at set intervals. In HIIT, you push hard to your limits for a certain amount of time and get back to the comfort zone after that. Once you recover while training in less intense zone, you push your limits again and so on. The comfort zone is that in which you can hold a conversation and the high intensity zone is that in which your heart rate increases to 80-90% of its maximum capacity.
HIIT is a highly effective method to burn extra fat and get into desired shape. Most of the calories that we burn every day, it is not through the workout. Our body’s metabolism accounts for the major part of the calorie expenditure. If our body’s RMR(Resting Metabolism Rate) is high, we tend to burn more calories every day. Resting metabolism means the metabolic processes taking place inside our body even when we are not working out. From breathing to digestion, everything consumes energy and when we raise our RMR, we feel more energetic and become fitter. One of the best ways to increase body’s RMR is HIIT.
Top Benefits of HIIT
Quick Fat Burn
: When you push hard so that it becomes difficult to breathe while working out, your body’s metabolic rate increases. Increased metabolic rate leads to faster calorie burn and overall increase in RMR. So after an HIIT session, you will be burning more calories even while resting compared to other days.
Helps in retaining muscle mass
: If you try to lose weight by dieting or low intensity training for an extended period of time, you are more likely to lose muscles. For instance, long distance marathoners often have extremely lean bodies with very little muscle mass. High intensity training on the other hand helps you retain that muscle mass that you gained over time and burn fat faster too. So, it is the best way to get into the ideal shape you always desired.
Good for Heart
: HIIT makes your heart’s muscles stronger and improves its health. If you already have a heart condition, you must consult a doctor before indulging in any workout including HIIT.
: Unlike our cardiovascular system that has a pumping organ, i.e. heart, there is no pumping organ in our lymphatic system. We need to pump this system manually with muscular movement and HIIT is best for that. Once our lymph is set in circulation, our body can detoxify itself at a much faster rate and it results in improved immunity and overall health of the individual.
: HIIT increases the levels of HgH( Human Growth Hormone) and improved lymphatic circulation leads to effective cleansing of the body. It leads to slowing down of the aging process and faster regeneration of cells of the body.
: Low intensity training for a longer period of time is not as effective as HIIT for increasing Stamina. It is absolutely necessary to use a greater part of lung capacity to increase stamina and it only happens when we push our limits. High intensity training increases our VO2 max capacity, which measures stamina. It is an indicator of the ability of a person to utilize oxygen while any physical activity.
There can be various HIIT plans, according to the personal goals. Some may include only aerobic exercises, others, aerobic as well as strength and others, primarily strength. Though normally, HIIT is employed by professional athletes, but anybody can benefit from it. What is intense for an average person might be very normal for an athlete, but the goal is to push our own personal limits, getting back to the comfort zone and repeating.
HIIT can bring loads of benefits to your body, but it can be very taxing and counterproductive if you do not take enough rest and proper nutrition. To make real health improvements, it is indispensable to take care of 3 essential factors, i.e., Exercise, Rest and Nutrition. If you neglect any of these, you might not get full benefits or you might injure yourself. Without adequate rest and proper nutrition, it is pointless to get started with HIIT or any other form of workout. Generally, it is recommended to do 2 or 3 sessions of HIIT per week.
Many people who find it hard to take out time for working out may find HIIT to be particularly useful to fit into their busy schedule. Generally, 20 minutes of HIIT training can be considered as effective or more effective than one hour of jog or other forms of work out.