We are all short on time, and it can be challenging to make exercising a priority in your life. What if you could get a full body, fat-burning and cardio workout in 20 min or less?
HIIT is all the hype lately, but what is it? HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to get fit quick – not just looking fit, but feeling fit, as well. It is an excellent workout for burning fat, boosting endurance, toning up all over and building explosive speed and strength. The actual benefits of HIIT come from its effects post-workout. HIIT has been shown to elevate metabolism for hours after your workout, essentially turning you into a fat-burning machine if done correctly and with adequate intensity.
The short intervals during a HIIT workout ask you to push yourself much harder than you would be able to if you were performing longer duration bouts of movement. It’s not possible to work that hard and maintain a high heart rate for an extended period because your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen. That’s why the rest/recovery periods of interval training are so important because they allow you to catch your breath and for your heart rate to come down momentarily. The harder you work during each interval, the better. It should feel like you are exercising “hard” to “very hard” and aiming to give it your all.
A good rule of thumb is to work hard enough that you would not be able to carry out a conversation while executing the work intervals because you are breathing too hard.
If you’re looking to get or stay lean, HIIT workouts should show up in your routine between 1-3 times a week, but never on back to back days. Due to the high intensity of each workout, your body needs at least 48 hours to recover in between. HIIT workouts are a great way to “shock” your muscles and to kick your body into high gear, allowing you to continue experiencing results and improvements after your body has gotten accustomed to your usual workout routine.
HIIT workouts are quick and convenient. They can be done anywhere: at home, in a hotel room, in a park, at the beach, etc. Plus, each workout is 30 minutes or less! Who can’t spare that? Another benefit of HIIT workouts is that no equipment is necessary.
No dumbbells? Not to worry! HIIT workouts only use your body weight, since the focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. These workouts result in optimal muscle building coupled with fat loss and increased calorie burn. Each exercise can be tweaked to fit the beginner all the way up to the advanced athlete.
Still can’t fit a 20 min workout into your schedule? Start small with just 4 minutes every other day. Tabata is a type of HIIT workout with specific timed intervals that alternate between 20-second intervals performed at maximum effort and 10-second stages of rest, repeated eight times for the ultimate exhaustive four-minute workout.
With a quick search, you can find tons of free HIIT workouts online. However, one of the easiest ways to get your HIIT workout in is to use the free app, Johnson & Johnson Official 7 minute workout. This app includes a built-in timer, exercise demonstration and verbal cues for proper performance. It also allows you to customize your workout time, exercise type and choose if you want a warm-up or not. Want to customize your workout? No problem, the app allows you to pick each exercise, create your workouts and save them too!
Research has shown that HIIT workouts are safe, efficient, well-tolerated and could help to improve adherence to exercise training given the limited time commitment that they require.
Anyone can work towards practicing HIIT workouts, but if you aren’t already exercising, then it’s best to start slowly to avoid injury. As long as you practice HIIT workouts responsibly and ease your way into it, you can experience excellent results using HIIT workouts!