High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise performed in short bursts with periods of rest between intense energy expenditure. Due to the heavy workload and strain put on an individual when performing these exercises, the typical duration for this such exercise is 30 – 45 minutes. Due to the short time frame to perform HIIT training, this can be a great method of training where an individual does not have a lot of free time.
As with all exercise, HIIT starts with a moderate warm-up period in order to prepare the body for exercise. An individual would then perform several intense repetitions followed by medium intensity repetitions/rest periods and then repeat. This intense form of exercise should be performed at an individual’s maximum exertion capabilities.
Typical exercises for HIIT are aerobic exercises such as running or rowing where the intensity of exercise can be modified with the setting of a machine or by simply slowing down.
Health effects of HIIT training
Cardiovascular health – As with all forms of exercise, HIIT training performed on a periodic basis helps lead to a healthy heart and circulatory system, lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate.
Increased Metabolic Rate after exercise – The intense nature of HIIT training helps increase the metabolism of the body throughout the day having performed the exercise hours before. Therefore burning more calories and burning fat, while other exercises will only burn these calories while performing the exercise.
Muscle Hypertrophy – An increase in metabolic rate through the day causes the muscles to work harder through the day, therefore leading to increased endurance and muscle mass.
Decreased Blood Sugar – Studies would support the fact that HIIT training reduces an individual’s blood sugar significantly more than less intense exercise, even when performed for longer periods of time. This helps reduce strain on blood vessels that transport blood to organs.
HIIT for beginners
An individual new to exercise would usually consider a form of continuous exercise such as running or another cardiovascular exercise for 40 minutes before looking to try HIIT. Due to the intense nature of HIIT, a basic level of fitness is first required in order to stop the individual from becoming fatigued and unable to complete the workout.
Once an individual has a basic level of fitness, they can consider implementing more intense phases to the exercise, For example, an individual running on a treadmill can increase the machine intensity for 30 seconds, decrease the speed, back to moderate exercise and then increase speed again.
A participant looking to get back into a regular exercise routine having recently recovered from an injury may want to start out with another training method or avoid HIIT altogether in order to avoid aggravating an injury or overtraining and causing themselves harm.
The Healthy Hub HIIT Workout
Reece does a HIIT workout 5 times a week and completes it fasted in the morning to create a calorie deficit. He does an incline treadmill sprint for a total time of 30 mins, which consists of 30seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest, 30 times.
Reece’s recommendation is to warm up for 5-10 mins by a light jog and stretching and during the jog work out your maximum sprint which you can hold for 30 seconds at an incline of 5% to set yourself up for the HIIT training. You can also do it on a flat treadmill however an incline will burn more calories and will support the knees better during the exercise. Aim for your heart rate to be at 70-90% of your max heart rate when completing the HIIT workout to gain optimal results.