If you are anything like me, cardio is not your best friend. All of that incessant running on the treadmill is not something I look forward to. For me, cardio was nothing but a way to lose fat and waste tons of time. Fortunately, I am not trying to lose weight (except in a certain gluteal region), so regular cardio would not only burn the fat I have, but also the muscle I needed to gain.
So, the first time I saw that my competition coach put cardio in my daily exercise regimen, I thought it was a mistake. She knew I had a hard time keeping on weight and she knew I wasn’t trying to lose any weight. But I quickly found out that this was not regular cardio.
The HIIT routines that I have received for the past several months have almost been as intense as my weight lifting routine. The routines are also less than one hour (30-45 mins), which is great, since I need to get it in before heading to work before the crack of dawn.
So, what is HIIT? HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training, which basically means you go hard and you go fast and you alternate and change movements and intensity levels very frequently.
According to the Huffington Post, “studies led by exercise physiologist Martin Gibala, PhD, the chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, have found that HIIT workouts can provide the same cardiovascular and muscular benefits in half to one-third the time as most endurance workouts.”
Based on a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. How awesome is that?!?!
According to Shape.com there are 8 key benefits to HIIT:
If you are short on time, HIIT is an ideal workout to complete during your lunch hour or if you want to get into shape for an upcoming event and you need to fit into your favorite outfit again. Effective HIIT workouts can range from 4 to 45 minutes. Now, there is no excuse for not being able to find time to exercise.
2. Burn More Calories
You burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after a steady-pace run. All of that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into overdrive.
3. Healthier Heart
Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (that place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is jumping out of your chest). One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
4. No Equipment Necessary
Running, biking, jump roping, and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don’t need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast. In fact, some equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because you want the focus to be on pushing your heart to its max, not your biceps.
5. Lose Weight, Not Muscle
Anyone who has been on a diet 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 you to preserve your hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Awesome!
6. Increase Metabolism
HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
7. You Can Do It Anywhere
Since it’s such a simple concept—go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat—you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.
This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with your friend. Because it’s so short, you will be working hard the whole time. The trade-off is this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. You may be in pain, you may be sucking wind, but you definitely won’t be bored!
So, are you sold on HIIT now,if you weren’t already? Here are a couple of HIIT routines you can click, print out and try for yourself. Remember, to stretch and warm up for at least 5-10 mins before you begin.
Enjoy your workout and remember, “It is easy to smile in the face of a challenge, when we believe in ourselves that we won’t back down.” – Ellen J. Barrier
Follow me on Twitter @maya_fitgirl
*HIIT exericises from FitSugar.com
- HIIT Workout: What It Is And Why It Works (wonderfultips.wordpress.com)
- HIIT and Be Fit – Top Trend 2014 (hot5fitness.wordpress.com)
- HIIT it Hard on the Treadmill (sweetdreamsfitspo.wordpress.com)