If you're just starting your weight loss journey, you might not have followed a structured exercise program in a while, and you could be wondering which kind of exercise is right for you. Should you take up running, or lifting weights?
High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a hugely popular form of exercise all over the world. It’s stayed on top of the trends for an impressive five years since coming in at number one in the American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Trends in 2014. In fact, since 2004, researchers from fields ranging from kinesiology to cognitive neuroscience have been studying the power of this workout style and its incredible health benefits. Ever since it came onto the scene, HIIT has been the buzzword of the fitness world.
In the fitness community, it’s widely regarded as one of the most efficient methods for improving cardio fitness and metabolic function. If it sounds tough, that’s because it is. But HIIT isn’t just for top-tier athletes anymore; research from the past decade or so shows that HIIT has pretty impressive effects on markers of general health and wellness. One of the main ways HIIT appeals to people is that they're done in an extremely short amount of time. If long runs sound too much like a chore for you, you can burn the same amount of calories in a much shorter amount of time by following simple HIIT exercises like burpees, push-ups and sprints.
For one, High Intensity Interval Training has been found by scientists to be more efficient than moderate-intensity exercise when it comes to maximizing health outcomes, suggesting "a growing body of evidence suggests that higher exercise intensities may be superior to moderate intensity". This includes improving cardiovascular fitness, maintaining muscle mass and, yes, losing weight. On a 1-10 scale of perceived exertion, high intensity is anything over an effort level of 8 – where you are completely out of breath; the lower intensity recovery intervals should be an effort level of 6 or below, where you are breathing quick but able to speak.
Another study, published in the Journal of Obesity, looked at HIIT's role in fat loss, indicating that "it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise." With our busy and hectic lives, we can sometimes forget what is important when it comes to fitness and nutrition. As I mentioned in this blog, routines help stabilize us. Without them, our days would fall to chaos, and we wouldn't be able to manage our time and conduct our business as well.
Here are a few reasons why you can spend less time exercising with HIIT and still get great results:
Every Level of Experience Benefits
Whether you’re a marathon runner or just jumping back into fitness, you can alter your workout to ‘HIIT’on the right intensity level for you.
Get Results In Less Time
Many health clubs and workout studios are applying this science to develop group fitness programs that feature HIIT workouts in formats that are 30 minutes or less. These formats enable you to do more work and receive numerous health benefits in less time.
Burn Calories and Fat AFTER the Workout
Anaerobic interval training uses the body’s reserves of energy and, after a workout, metabolism stays elevated and continues to burn calories for hours after the workout. This is due to something called the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. With HIIT, you not only burn a lot of calories during the workout, but because of the high intensity you will continue to burn calories as your body replaces energy and repairs muscle proteins damaged during exercise.
Also, not only does your body burn fat for fuel during the workout, during the post-exercise recovery period after HIIT exercise the body will tap into fat stores for the energy required to restore it to its normal resting state.
Boost Heart Health
The majority of people aren’t used to pushing themselves into the anaerobic zone; that feeling where it feels like you can’t breathe and you might collapse on the floor. According to one study, extreme training can produce extreme results. After eight weeks of HIIT workouts, participants could cycle for twice as long as they could before the study started.
Studies on interval training report the most significant heart health benefits . Less intense training programs with shorter intervals carried the least benefits. Improving your heart health has a ton of benefits and can reduce the risk of developing problems like heart disease.
No Equipment Needed
This one benefits everyone from gym-goers and personal trainers to fitness studio owners. Although you can use equipment during a HIIT session, you don’t need any for a sweaty workout. This is ideal for fitness businesses like outdoor bootcamps that rely on an open space without equipment.
Running and bodyweight exercises are both perfect for HIIT and don’t require any equipment. Movements like high knees or jumping lunges can quickly get your heart rate up. You can perform a HIIT workout anywhere at any time, adding to the convenience of this type of training. You can sneak in a workout in the morning, lunch, or evening that fits entirely around your schedule.
If you’re trying to reach a new fitness goal or lose some weight, HIIT is definitely a tool you should keep in your belt. But this method isn’t just for people with a specific endgame in mind! Incorporating HIIT into your regimen 1-3 times per week can help you build a strong body and heart for a long, healthy life.
Investing in your health and wellness can start at any age and is a lifelong process. The goal should always be to make tweaks to make the action become a realistic lifestyle for you. We must make time for things that are “necessary” but also allow this new behavior and new lifestyle to enter the conversation of longevity, well-being and necessity.
Stop looking for the perfect diet or the perfect combination of foods. Eat in a very healthy way but allow yourself to have one favorite food, in moderation, every single day. Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. Although it might seem simple to make those changes, it is extremely hard to keep up with them.
One of my favorite parts of the whole process is to search and get to know more about products that fit into my fit lifestyle and are on the same page as me in terms of longevity in what I do. I might be a professional swimmer now and somehow be ‘forced’ into watching my diet and what goes into my body, but I know for a fact that one day when I don’t swim anymore I will still be very worried and concerned about my health.
I always say that in order to make any new habit easier to do, we should always start with an incredibly small new thing that isn’t reliant on motivation and willpower. Motivation comes and goes, and willpower is something that is easily exhausted as it is used throughout the day. A new habit needs to be so easy and simple that an individual can’t say “no” to doing the habit, it’s just naturally achieved. Everyone is unique. Not everyone requires a fully scheduled day to reap the health benefits of a routine, so make the choices that work for you, knowing they’ll only make you healthier and more efficient with your time.
Identifying barriers and challenges ahead of time can be an effective way to address them before they become overwhelming. I know it can be super easy to give up on goals and new habits when life gets challenging. That’s why it’s critical to remind yourself that a day or even a week of setbacks will not ruin your path to achieving your new goals.
Remembering to always look forward by envisioning what life might look like if you stick to your new habits and make the changes necessary to live more healthfully and in line with your values and aspirations. These are the things that will keep your hope, motivation and enthusiasm for achieving your goals at a high level throughout the process of change.
With the increase in demand, the availability for natural and organic products of all types has also increased so it shouldn’t be hard to find substitute foods and drinks for what you already have been consuming. Things such as “Low-sugar”, “No Artificial”, and “zero calories” should do the work in getting your attention, but make sure you read the labels and be aware if the packages are lying or not.
Luckily the availability for low-sugar natural products has been on the rise and I have been able to refuel and replenish my body with the right amount of calories, vitamins and electrolytes while staying on track of my lifestyle goals. Products such as Hydra Guard Sports Drink are available on the market and online and they help me on a daily basis with my training routine.