The buzzword these days in the fitness scene is all about getting HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)! It’s about getting extremely physical.
So, What Exactly IS HIIT?
HIIT describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even rest.
For example, a good starter HIIT workout is running as fast as you can for one minute and then walking for two minutes. Repeat five times for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout.
It sounds too simple to be effective, but science doesn’t stretch the truth. With HIIT, you can burn more fat by doing less cardio – burning fat while spending less time in the gym or exercising in general.
But How Long Should I Do Cardio?
You have probably been told that in order to burn the greatest amount of fat you need to do cardio for 20 to 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.
Well, this is still a benchmark fitness advice and will melt the fat away in the long run, but HIIT, as science has proven, is an efficient and athlete-friendly way to train and burn fat at the same time.
What’s a HIIT Session Like?
- A HIIT session starts with a warm-up period of exercise at medium intensity
- Followed by three to 10 repetitions of high-intensity exercise, separated by medium-intensity exercises for recovery
- Ends with a period of cooling-down exercises
The high-intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity – at level eight or nine of RPE (rate of perceived exertion). Want to know what level 8 or 9 feels like? It’s just slightly below Level 10, which makes you feel like passing out, vomiting or seeing blank spots and with numb and cold extremities.
Medium intensity should be about 50% RPE, or comfortable.
The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise, some as little as three repetitions at just 20 seconds of intense exercise.
There is no specific formula to HIIT
It all depends on your level of strength and cardiovascular development. A moderate-level intensity can be as slow as walking.
A common formula involves a 2:1 ratio of work-to-recovery period.
For example, 30 to 40 seconds of hard sprinting alternated with 15 to 20 seconds of jogging or walking. The entire HIIT session may last between four and 30 minutes.
4 Concrete Reasons to HIIT
1. HIIT is great for busy people
- Super-efficient HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule, whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or to get in shape for an event.
- Research shows you can achieve progress in a mere 15 minutes of HIIT done three times a week than jogging on the treadmill for an hour.
- According to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, just two weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training.
- You can complete an effective HIIT workout in just five to seven minutes.
- Coupled with a medium-intensity warm up of five minutes and a cool down of three minutes, you’ve got your day’s workout sorted where it would traditionally take you 30 minutes.
2. You Don’t Need Any Equipment
- Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (levels eight to nine). But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results.
- Running, biking, jump roping, and rowing all work great for HIIT, and you don’t need any equipment. High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast.
- In fact, equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective as you want the focus to be on pushing your heart to its max, not your biceps.
3. HIIT Preserves Your Muscles
Anyone who has been on a diet alone knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat.
While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores.
4. HIIT Increases Your Metabolism (the Afterburn)
In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) and increases metabolism during the 24 hours after you finish your workout.
This is great news since it’s not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the ageing process, making you younger both inside and out!
Rebel Bootcamp utilises HIIT in its workout programmes. Is it the ideal fitness regime for you? You’ll never know till you give it a go. Sign up for one month of awesomeness with REBEL Bootcamp at only RM49 (normally RM300) and see how your body and mind transforms for the better. Find out more here or check out Rebel Bootcamp’s Facebook page or website.