If you are into fitness and you enjoy getting a good work-out, but are hard pressed for time, it’s time to try HIIT. Known as ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ or ‘High Intensity Intermittent Exercise’, this killer workout has garnered quite a bit of attention in the fitness circles in recent years, especially among the younger lot.

HIIT training involves strategic workouts with intervals, focusing on cardiovascular activity and improving muscle and bone mass of the body.  These workouts can be practiced with or without equipment at the gym, home and it demands a greater level of self-motivation to acquire desired results.

HIIT: High Intensity, Killer Workout

How Is It Done?

HIIT sessions start with a warm-up exercise followed by various types of intense workouts, alternated with medium level exercises and a cool down period. The trick is to do high intensity exercises with at a maximum speed and bring it down by 50 per cent while working out the medium level, followed by a brief recovery period, before starting on another workout.

The most popular HIIT workouts are on cycling ergometer but you can also choose running, climbing stairs, rowing ergometer for effective results.Since the focus is on building cardiovascular health besides burning calories, improving muscle of the body - all in a given time frame, HIIT exercises are done within 30 minutes.

Points To Consider Before Starting HIIT

Following some of these tips before starting the HIIT routine will help you to safely perform the workout:

Always go for a low-intensity modality that you are familiar with. For instance, if you haven’t jogged in a while, then don’t begin with all-out running.

Start slowly with a few sessions twice a week. As HIIT workout is taxing, particularly while using higher-impact modalities.

Workout sessions should not extend 30 seconds and intervals of more than 30 seconds will be quite tough to maintain at the basic intensity to qualify as HIIT

Get ample relaxation time.

If you experience joint or muscle pain, always start with a low-impact activity like cycling or swimming.

Here Are Few Popular HIIT Sessions:

Peter Coe Regimen:

It involves repeated fast 200 meters run with a recovery period of 30 seconds between each run.

Tabata Regimen:

Performed on a mechanical bicycle ergometer, it involves 20 seconds of fast cycling followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes.

Gibala Regimen:

This includes 3 minutes of warming up, 60 seconds of intense exercise followed by 75 seconds of rest done for 8 to 12 cycles.

Vollard Regimen:

It includes 10-minute exercise routine consisting easy pedaling, interspersed with 40 second cycling sprints. It is done for 6 to 10 repetitions for overall aerobic fitness.
HIIT workout

Health Benefits of HIIT:

Burns Calories:

HIIT is the best workout if you want to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. According to studies, HIIT exercises will help you burn 25 per cent more calories than compared to other workouts. In fact, you can lose extra calories just by working out for 1/3 of your regular fitness hours.

Boosts Metabolic Rate:

These high intensity workouts help your body boost its metabolism like never before and it continues even after hours of exercise. It also shifts your body’s metabolic activity towards lowering the amounts of bad fat than using energy provided by carbohydrates.

Helps Gain Muscle:

Besides helping in losing extra fat, HIIT works wonders in building muscle. Studies reveal that HIIT helps in building muscle in legs, trunk regions as they are often used during exercises and small amounts of muscle growth in other areas of the body.

Healthy Heart:

Practicing HIIT workouts for a month will tremendously increase your cardiovascular fitness, improving the functioning of blood vessels. A regular workout would improve lung power, lower blood pressure, bring down obesity by correcting the issues related to metabolic syndrome.

Controls Blood Sugar:

Studies reveal that individuals practicing HIIT exercises have found positive changes in controlling high levels of blood sugars. Few high intensity workouts tailor made for the type 2 diabetics improved insulin resistance and significantly brought down the levels of blood sugars. If you are a diabetic, talk to your trainer for a customized HIIT session.

Benefits Of HIIT Cardio

Several pieces of evidence have revealed that HIIT cardio workouts can burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.

HIIT cardio workout has a remarkable ability to boost your body’s metabolic rate for hours even after a workout. Thus, helps in burning more calories even after a workout session. Also, HIIT may alter the body’s metabolism away from having carbs and toward using fat for energy.

It assists in increasing muscle mass if done with appropriate weights and techniques.

HIIT cardio workout also promotes the oxygen consumption capacity of a person. A study indicates that participants who performed 20-minute HIIT workouts four days a week for 5 weeks improved their oxygen intake by 9%.