The time has come for us to do away with dull, time-consuming aerobic workouts and equipment like treadmills and elliptical, for the age of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is upon us!

HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise that enables you to make far more efficient use of your time than slogging away on a treadmill, as it provides far more dramatic results than you could expect to achieve with regular old jogging or stepping.

The EPOCalypse is Nigh

The basic idea behind HIIT is that you perform a period of all-out, maximum effort, sprint-type activity, followed by a rest or ‘cruise’ period (which is also known as Tabata training).

This setup allows your heart rate to come back down between sprints, resulting in a phenomenon known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) – also known as the “afterburn effect”.

Simply put, EPOC results in an increased metabolic rate for a significant period of time after your HIIT workout, meaning you will be burning more calories throughout the day without doing any additional exercise.

Burn, Baby, Burn – The Afterburn

When performing, say, an hour of aerobics in the form of jogging, cycling, or using an elliptical machine, you may be able to say you burned X amount of calories, but in reality, the benefits stop shortly after you stop working out.

HIIT not only provides lasting benefits after your workout, but your actual workout is shorter too. Even the longest HIIT session will only last 20 to 30 minutes.

The tradeoff of course, is that you’re going to have to work a lot harder in a HIIT workout than you would if you were slaving away on a hamster wheel – sorry, treadmill! However, they can be fun and the time passes quickly. They’re also really fun to do with friends or in groups!

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What Does HIIT Look Like?

A standard HIIT session might look something like this:

  • Warm up for around 5 to 10 minutes
  • 30 second sprint
  • 1 minute jog / walk
  • 30 second sprint
  • 1 minute jog / walk
  • 30 second sprint

…and so on. The above example represents a 1:2 ratio and the session would typically last 8 – 30 minutes, depending on your current level of fitness.

Another equally effective approach is to use a 1:5 cadence, which would look like this:

  • Warm up for around 5-10 minutes
  • 10 second sprint
  • 50 second jog / walk
  • 10 second sprint
  • 50 second jog / walk
  • 10 second sprint, et cetera

HIIT Me Baby One More Time

Even though the rest or ‘cruise’ periods aren’t quite as long, the on / off ratio is far greater, giving you more time to catch your breath and get your heart rate back down before beginning the next sprint.

As you can see, HIIT is a great, versatile way for you to exercise more efficiently, and most importantly, more efficiently.

Try adding some HIIT workouts to your routine and you’ll quickly begin to realize just how beneficial this intelligent form of exercise can be for both your time management and weight loss!

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