High-intensity interval training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. For example, a good starter workout is running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat that 3-minute interval five times for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout. It sounds too simple to be effective, but science doesn’t stretch the truth. Read below for eight proven benefits of HIIT:
Benefit #1: Efficient and Time Saving Workout
Super-efficient HIIT workout is the most ideal workout for a busy schedule – whether you want to squeeze in a workout during lunch or get in shape for a fast approaching event. A recent research showed that you can achieve more progress in a mere 15-minute of interval training done three times a week than an hour jog on a treadmill done five times a week.
According to a 2013 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, just 2 weeks of high intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.
The best part is that with the Tabata training method, you can complete an effective HIIT workout in just 4 minutes.
Benefit #2: Burn More Fat
Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effects of all the intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means that you will continue to burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after your HIIT workout.
Benefit #3: Healthier Heart
Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic state (that state when you can’t breathe and you feel your chest is going to jump out). But in the case of HIIT, extreme training produces extreme results. One recent research for out that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subject could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
Benefit #4: No equipment required
Running, biking, jump rope, rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don’t need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet or anything plyometric like jumping lunges all work just as well to get your heart rate up fast. In fact, some equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because you want the focus to be on pushing your heart rate to the max, not your biceps.
Benefit #5: Lose weight, not muscle
Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard not to lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies have shown that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight loss comes from fat stores.
Benefit #6: Increase Metabolism
In addition to increased fat burning and more muscles preserved, HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by upto 4.5x during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great since HGH is not only responsible for caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out.
Benefit #7: Do it anywhere
You can do it on a boat, you can do it with a goat. You can do it here or there, you can do it anywhere. Dr. Seuss would’ve loved HIIT. Since it’s such a simple concept – go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat – you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints that you have.
Benefit #8: It’s challenging
This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with a friend. Because it’s so short, you’ll be working out the entire time. The trade off is that this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. You may be in pain, you may be sucking in wind, but you definitely won’t be bored.