What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and what are the benefits?
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a workout designed to raise your heart rate through a series of intense exercises. It aids in rapid fat burning and increasing metabolism.
HIIT has also been proven to have amazing benefits for those suffering chronic illness, and those at risk of heart related illness or leading sedentary lifestyles.
This form of exercise has a bad reputation simply because it sounds like something that will leave you bloodied and bruised in a boxing ring. And while it’s definitely intense, the effects are astronomical.
It is simply a great way to get your heart rate up and blood pumping, and involves a series of intense orchestrated exercises, with short intervals for recovery, with the aim to transform your body by changing the way it produces and uses energy. This is perfect for anyone who wants a spring in their step or leads a sedentary work lifestyle.
Increasingly, we hear about the dangers of the work environment, which offer little to no movement. Sedentary jobs (which we nearly all hold) can put immense pressure on the body, increasing your likelihood of everything from breast and colon cancer, to risk of diabetes.
HIIT is the perfect counterbalance. The average HIIT workout involves a 5-minute warm-up period, followed by a series of intense activities, each performed for a short set time, with a larger recovery window. Workouts can involve anything from running or cycling, to stair climbers, so expect to sweat!
The best part is, that each HIIT workout can be easily tailored to your needs and ability, whether that’s in a gym, park, or your home.
The benefits are also massive. By raising your heart rate for an extended amount of time, you reduce your chances of developing heart and blood pressure related illnesses, common in stressful office work environments. It also promotes the effective removal of metabolic waste from your body, so not only will you be shedding the pounds, you’ll be boosting your body into peak health as toxins leave your system.
If you think we’re bluffing, The New York Times lauded HIIT as one of the key elements responsible for improving the lives of the chronically ill across the world. By preventing or reversing the effects long-term illness has, it actively empowers everyone to improve their own lives, regardless of age and ability.
If you struggle mustering enough energy for something as intense as HIIT, consider making small improvements first. Clean up your diet and be more active during the day. Take the stairs a flight or two rather than the lift, replace that chocolate bar with a banana.
It sounds simple, but it’s a great way for your body to adapt to your new, improved lifestyle. Sudden and unsustainable changes (like becoming vegan and working out everyday), are incredibly hard to keep up and make you feel like a failure if you can’t sustain them long term. By making subtle changes, you’ll gradually work your way up to a point where you’ll benefit from more focused training.
An Example 5 minute HIIT Session designed by MotivatePT for you to try at home!
45 seconds activity
15 seconds rest
Rest should be gentle jogging or marching on the spot; keep your feet moving and your heart rate up!
Start with a 5-minute sequence, and then repeat for a ten (2 rounds) or 15-minute (3 rounds) sequence. Don’t be disheartened if you find this tough to start. Some of our clients struggled to complete five minutes, and are no able to do thirty!