There always seems to be some buzz around getting “in shape for summer”, we all want to look good in our shorts but more importantly feel fit & strong to do the activities we enjoy- injury free. Well, if you are someone who blames lack of time for your inability to exercise, you’re going to have to come up with a new excuse. I’ve got a workout for you that takes very little time to do and will get you results fast-even if you are starting off from scratch! The popularity of HIIT workouts comes with good reasoning.
Making a commitment to schedule in short HIIT workouts will get you results worth working for and will make staying in shape this summer simple, quick & fun!
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This means alternating between exercises of high intensity and short periods of rest. When you continuously exercise at a continuous steady state time after time, your body adapts and develops a threshold for this specific intensity. High intensity interval training shifts this threshold up, and that is why athletes always include interval training- even if they are training for an endurance sport. There is no specific right or wrong when it comes choosing your interval time. I like to mix my intervals up, alternating between 30, 45, and 60 second bursts of work with 15 seconds rest. I also like to do tabata training, in which the work intervals are 20 seconds followed by a 10- second rest and repeated 8 times. The level of difficulty of the exercises you are doing is also a key factor. Burpees are a lot harder to sustain than squats for example.
Why Are Short HIIT Workouts So Effective?
1. They save time. You are way more likely to exercise (and stick with it) if it will take less than 30 minutes. Let’s be honest. Who has time to fit in 5 hour long workouts each week? Not many of us. Knowing that you only have to block out 30 minutes into your day is totally do able. Whether you head straight to the gym after work, or hit the park for an outdoor workout, a 12-15 minute HIIT done once or twice is all it takes.
2. HIIT Workouts Are Time Efficient. Yes you will have to work hard and fast at a HIIT workout, but because they are short in duration this level of intensity is sustainable. A study published June 2015 by the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse revealed that on average you will burn twice as many calories doing a 20 minute HIIT workout as you would during a long run. An average person will burn 400 calories in a 20 minute session – not bad hey!
3. More fat loss as a result of the after burn effect. When you work out HIIT style your metabolic rate goes through the roof and stays elevated even after you finish training while your body adapts and recovers. This will cause you to burn more fat for 24 to 48 hours after exercising, depending on how intense the training was. Of course, you also get the health and fitness improvements that come as a result of working your heart, lungs and muscles harder.
Curious to know more before you get started? Read more on 6 HIIT myths.
Now before you run off to do a HIIT workout you have to realize that for any of that awesome calorie-burning, fat-blasting stuff to happen, you have to work really hard during your workouts.
Ideally, you’ll not only be gasping for breath at the end of your workouts, your muscles should also be burning like crazy (in fitness terms, this means you’ll be in an anaerobic state of training). This will allow you to maximize calorie burn both during and after your workouts.
And remember, this looks different for everyone. What is hard for you may not be as hard for the person next to you. So listen to your body, monitor your workout by how you feel. (can you still speak, but can’t sing) and give it your best every time.