The benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT)

By Roy Kim, May 13 2014

High intensity interval training or HIIT is being talked about all over the fitness world. In this article, I want to talk about what HIIT is and the benefits of implementing this strategy in your work out. HIIT consists of short intense bursts of activity separated by less intense activity. An example of this would be sprinting alternated with walking. The popular Tabata regimen consists of alternating between 20 seconds working at 100% intensity and 10 seconds of rest. The opposite of HIIT would be what’s known as low intensity steady state or LISS. The prime example would be jogging at a steady pace. So what makes this strategy so appealing?

No gym? No problem. HIIT can be done anywhere with nothing but yourself. All you need to do is push yourself in more than one way. HIIT sessions can be as short as 4 minutes if you follow the Tabata regimen up to half an hour. Time can no longer be your scapegoat for not getting in a good work out. Other benefits of HIIT vs LISS include preserving muscle as well as a boost in human growth hormone (HGH); two factors known to contribute to fat loss. Some of you are ready to get started and some of you want an explanation on how this works.

For HIIT to be effective you really need to push yourself. If you are not exhausted after your work out, you didn’t push yourself hard enough. The ultimate goal is to get to a point where you are not taking in as much oxygen as your body needs. This is known as Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). You owe your body some oxygen and it’s going to make sure it gets it. While in this state of EPOC, your body is using more fuel usually in the form of fat. So next time you’re thinking about jumping on the treadmill for an hour, ask yourself if you really want to spend an hour on that thing when you don’t have to.

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