HIIT is a form of exercise that is considered to burn as calories as Cardio exercises. The benefits of HIIT range from losing weight and improving sleep to longevity.
The term HIIT is used for high-intensity interval training. It is high-intensity bursts with as much recovery as you need in order to do the next most effective.
What that means is you could literally be doing like 20-30 seconds all-out high intensity and take the next two minutes to recover in order to have an effective follow-up set.
The idea is to get a high-intensity interval, not a continuous heart rate.
This is a training technique where you give all your efforts for a short period of time followed by a period of rest or active recovery.
A Few Basic Examples of HIIT:
- 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of rest repeated for 10 minutes
- 45 seconds of fast jumping jacks followed by 15 seconds of rest repeated for 12 minutes
- You could do a Tabata style HIIT work out which is 20 seconds of workout and 10 seconds of rest repeatedly usually for a duration of only 4 minutes
Both the workout and rest interval can last for however long you like but with most workouts, the interval of rest usually lasts for around 10 seconds to 1-minute and the total workout lasts between 4 minutes and 20 minutes.
The HIIT work intervals can be done with almost any kind of exercise activity, including but not limited to:
- Squat jumps,
It all works as long as the exercise is done with a lot of intensity.
The rest intervals of HIIT workout can include:
- Dancing in place, or
- Just chilling
Why is HIIT preferred over most usual forms of exercises? Does this have an advantage over regular cardio?
Here are the 11 advantages and benefits of HIIT workouts that are the reason people prefer doing HIIT workouts than the other formal forms of exercises:
Benefits of HIIT:
Well, there’s quite a bit of scientific merit behind HIIT workouts. Here are the few proven benefits of HIIT and why it works?
You may save time at the GYM
The number one excuse we usually hear for being out of shape is something about time. People would say things like I’m just too busy or it takes too long to get to the gym.
If you’re one of these people who literally run out of time in the day, HIIT workouts might be perfect for you.
Instead of doing regular cardio where you give less effort for a longer period of time, a good HIIT workout is much shorter.
Remember: One hour of Cardio is equivalent to 20 minutes of Cardio!
No Equipment Needed
You can perform HIIT workouts with all sorts of exercises. It can also be done anywhere with no weights or equipment.
So if you can’t make it to the gym, doing a HIIT workout from home is always a great second option.
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Mix Things Up:
A lot of people complain about not being able to stick to their routine. One of the reasons is that they get bored of doing the same exercises every day.
Because HIIT workout is not a single type of exercise, it is a protocol. It can be done with any form of workout.
Sprints, Jump ropes, Battle ropes, kettlebells, Burpees, and really whatever you can think of you will always be able to create some sort of variety in your workouts and keep things fresh with HIIT workouts.
People are more consistent when they do HIIT workouts:
Any exercise that is done regularly has more impact on your health. Compared to other forms of exercises, HIIT workouts can be easily done at home.
People are more consistent doing HIIT than other forms of exercise.
A study conducted at the institute of health and exercise sciences on 44 participants concluded that people greatly preferred HIIT workouts over other forms of cardio.
The more you enjoy a particular workout the more likely you’re going to stick to it.
VO2-max is the oxygen you can use during intense maximal exercise. The better the vo2max a person has, the longer and harder the person can work out intensely and the better health you will have.
It is proved in multiple types of research that those people who do HIIT exercises have a much greater improved vo2-max than those who do steady-state cardio.
HIIT Matches Regular Cardiac EPOC:
EPOC is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. In simple terms, you can call it “afterburn” or burning calories after you have stopped doing exercise.
This is the burning of extra calories long after a workout. While the effect of HIIT workout on EPOC or afterburn has been greatly exaggerated, it is true that a 20-minute session of HIIT will give you a similar afterburner as steady-state cardio for 60 minutes.
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HIIT Burns as Much Fat as CARDIO:
In multiple studies, we see that HIIT workouts burn just as many calories as steady-state cardio at 1 half the time or even in some studies, one-third of the time.
HIIT workouts burn more body fat than traditional cardio for the time adjusted.
So, you can burn more calories and fats in a much shorter period of time with HIIT workouts compared to most other forms of exercises including cardio.
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HIIT Workouts Increase Your Sirtuins (Longevity Genes):
Sirtuins are signaling proteins in our body that are associated with longevity. SIRT proteins in your body send signals to other parts of the body and enhance healing. The higher your sirtuins levels are, the longer you live (or are supposed to live).
High-intensity acute exercises in women in combination with increased intake of green tea were found to raise the levels of Sirtuins (SIRT1) in one study [Ref].
HIIT workouts increase the SIRT1 longevity genes by 56%. Thus, doing HIIT a few times a week can have a huge impact on your longevity genes.
HIIT Workouts Improve Your Sleep:
High-intensity interval training a few times a week can help absolve the negative effects of poor sleep.
This doesn’t mean that you can have a cruddy sleep for the rest of your life. HIIT workouts have been associated with improved sleep quality and metabolism [Ref].
Sleep-deprived people can improve their glucose tolerance if they do a little bit of HIIT training.
HIIT workouts when performed regularly can result in better metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. This can have a direct effect on sleep.
People who sleep less than 4 hours per 24 hours can develop insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac diseases.
Doing as little as 10 rounds of HIIT workouts for 60 seconds or more can have dramatic effects on your body’s metabolism especially if you are sleep-deprived. It also reduces the effect of poor sleep on body fat storage.
Glucose Utilization and Burning Carbs:
HIIT workouts are very effective if you want to burn more carbs. The effect of HIIT workouts on glucose dysregulation was studied in patients with or without impaired glucose tolerance.
In healthy people, both HIIT workouts and regular exercise resulted in similar positive results on glucose metabolism.
However, people with impaired glucose tolerance had improved glucose metabolism only with HIIT workouts.
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You can reverse your prediabetes and potentially reverse your diabetes with HIIT workouts as you are able to metabolize glucose faster.
It is also a known fact that insulin is not required by exercising muscles. Thus, HIIT exercises escape the insulin-requiring effects.
So, basically, when you’re doing high-intensity interval training, you are utilizing glucose in the absence of insulin.
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You can train your body to be better at using carbs and have a less potential risk with carbohydrates by doing just a little bit of HIIT.
Perform HIIT workouts three times per week for like 7 to 10 rounds of 60 seconds with 75-ish or so seconds off.
HIIT Workouts Improve Your Mitochondrial Biogenesis:
“Better Mitochondrial Biogenesis” means that your mitochondria are going to be better at utilizing fat for fuel.
Six high-intensity interval training sessions over two weeks can result in the same benefits in terms of aerobic capacity as doing two weeks of endurance training.
Increased endurance is a result of increased levels of Cytochrome C oxidase levels in the mitochondria that are required for the electron transport chain and cellular respiration.
Mitochondrial biogenesis makes you burn more fats compared to carbohydrates.
Doing short bursts of hard things can have a high impact on your health and save your time as well. You don’t need any types of equipment for HIIT workouts. Furthermore, you burn as calories as going to a GYM in a short time.
HIIT workouts improve your sleep, glucose metabolism and prolong longevity by increasing signaling proteins in your body.