What is a HIIT workout and should you try it?

By Emma – on in Health
Live the sweat life by introducing HIIT workouts into your weekly exercise routine. High intensity interval training will improve your endurance, build muscle and burn fat.

Zumba, boot camp, cross-training, isometrics, Tabata, there are so many types of workouts available today that it’s difficult to keep up with all the new fads. If you enjoy sweating, panting and feeling tired after your sweat session, you should definitely try a HIIT workout. Find out what it is and if it’s meant for you.


What is HIIT?

HIIT refers to High Intensity Interval Training. It is a cardio-filled, fat-burning, muscle-building workout. The one word you need to remember is “intensity” because it is the short bursts of cardio and short breaks that make this type of physical activity unique. Pushing yourself to your maximum (you should have difficulty talking) during short sets of 20 to 90 seconds will make all the difference and will also help you continue to burn calories 48-72 hours after your workout. A HIIT workout doesn’t have to be long because unlike running, you don’t need to ration your energy. If you don’t have much time to exercise, a 10-minute HIIT workout will be enough. By using 80% to 95% of your estimated maximal heart rate, you’ll be working extremely hard but only for a few minutes at a time. The HIIT exercises make you work extra hard so you can increase your metabolism and burn fat and calories.


The benefits

A HIIT workout has many benefits for one’s health. Not only does it increase metabolism but it also reduces insulin resistance, endurance levels are improved as well as cardiac function. One of the greatest benefits of this type of workout is that you can do it anywhere. Most of the exercises require no equipment so you have no excuses! You only need running shoes, a mat and a video or workout sheet to begin. Also, any type of physical activity can be adapted to any type of exercise you enjoy whether it is strength training, swimming, running or cycling.

However, this workout is not meant to be performed every single day. One to three times a week is best. You need to take breaks between your workout sessions to let your body heal. Varying your workouts is the ideal way to work different muscles and work on your strength, flexibility and endurance.


Five of our favourite free HIIT online videos

Home HIIT workout

Beginner HIIT

Intense HIIT workout

Full body HIIT

Astrid Swan’s 10-minute HIIT workout

Find more videos here! Of course, it is best to talk to your physician before starting any new type of exercise routine.

Cover photo: @equinox | Instagram

Sources SELF Shape