The weather outside may be unbearable – both in winter and summer – and the idea of a long run outside is untempting. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on the treadmill or even outside—in fact, with a quick high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, you’ll be working up a sweat in no time. HIIT has gained popularity in recent years for its effectiveness at burning fat and building strength. It can be intimidating and mystifying, but the core concepts are easy and with a plethora of modifications, HIIT is for everybody from professional athletes to beginners.
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It is important to note that not all high-intensity workouts or interval training are classified as HIIT. HIIT is classified by its short bursts of very hard work. You have to push yourself to the limit during each interval and rest in between sets. The rest periods are not optional and are needed for your body to recover and build endurance.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT is lauded for its metabolism-boosting, endurance-building benefits. But there are other perks of this type of workout. Pushing yourself to the max and resting is beneficial for heart health. After a successful HIIT workout, your body will continue to burn fat and calories hours after you stop, making it more efficient than normal cardio for weight loss. Many HIIT circuits require no equipment and relatively small space, allowing you to do them at home or while traveling. Additionally, HIIT promotes weight loss without the loss of muscle mass that can happen during long cardio sessions.
HIIT Safety Tips
Because of the high intensity of HIIT, it is important to warm up properly before diving in. If you’re new to HIIT, start with shorter intervals and longer breaks and build up. It is more important to maintain proper form than pound out all of your sets, so if you need to take breaks while beginning, you should listen to your body. Because of the grueling intensity, HIIT should not be done daily. Let your body rest and recover. And as always, you should speak with your physician before beginning any new exercise routine.
How to Get Started
One of the best things about HIIT is the vast variety of customizable workouts that are available to try. They range from quick and sweaty 10 minute bursts to full body, hour-long circuits. Are you a runner looking for a living room workout? Are you new to HIIT and want to dip your toes in the water? Do you hate running but want more cardio? There’s even a workout for people in apartments that don’t want to annoy their neighbors with jumping and burpees. There is a HIIT workout for you no matter your ability, time or space.