I know what you really want to know...What are the benefits of a HIIT Workout?
You want to know why you should do a HIIT session?
Because HIIT workouts are not easy. In fact they're bloody tough. So why should you put yourself through that?
I bet some of the other sites you've Googled have gone on about decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Improving your blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health.
But do you care about that?
Of course we all want to be be healthy. But unless you're worried about heart disease or you're trying to prevent diabetes, insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health aren't going to get you off the sofa to do the hardest workout of your life.
I know they wouldn't for me.
But maybe the benefits below will.
Benefits of HIIT training that you actually care about....
Before we get on to the juicy benefits, shall we just revisit what HIIT is? Just in case you haven't come from one of my other pages that describes it....
High intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a form of training that has you working out in short bursts of intense exercise followed by a rest period.
The work periods are kept to short intervals so that you can give it your all, give maximum effort. Any longer and you just wouldn’t be able to sustain it.
And then you’re given a few seconds of rest before you go again.
Rinse and repeat.
Intense bursts of exercise followed by a few seconds of rest. Work, rest, work rest.
It’s these periods of maximum effort where the real magic happens. It’s where your body adapts the most. It’s like ‘oh my god, what is she doing to me, I’m going to have to get more efficient to keep up’.
In short, it’s where all of the lovely benefits come from.
Which is what you’re most interested in, right?
So let’s get to it.
One thing you need to remember, the effectiveness of a workout can
only be measured by what you want to achieve. So, if you haven’t
thought about your goals, or your why, have a think as you read this
Also, think about what you enjoy doing.
Yes, the health benefits of high-intensity interval training are numerous, and we’ll get to those in a minute, but if it means doing something you really don’t enjoy, is it actually worth it?
Traditional cardio also has many benefits, exercise in general has many benefits, so don’t force yourself to do HIIT because you think you should.
If it’s really not for you, don’t stress. There will be something else out there that you enjoy.
Happiness is the precursor to good health. So put your happiness and your enjoyment first and foremost.
That being said, do give HIIT a go. Even if you think you won’t enjoy it. Or, you haven’t enjoyed it in the past.
We all change. So, it’s a good idea to revisit things you once didn’t enjoy.
Maybe it was just a bad workout, a bad day. Maybe you didn’t have the incentive. Maybe you will enjoy it now.
So, give it a go.
You don’t have to do it again if you don’t enjoy it.
There’s no getting around it, HIIT is a great way to lose
Probably the best way. The best type of workout if your goals are weight loss, fat loss or body composition related.
The thing that makes HIIT so good is that it increases your metabolic rate, that’s the rate your body burns calories. But it doesn’t just increase your calorie burn for the duration of your workout...it increases it for about a day afterwards.
So, you could workout every other day but have your metabolic rate raised permanently.
That is a lot of calories burned.
It also encourages your body to turn to body fat for it’s source of energy rather than carbs.
It also helps you maintain lean muscle. That’s the type of tissue you want. It’s the type of tissue that doesn’t wobble. It’s the type of tissue that is well defined. And it’s the type of tissue that has a higher energy expenditure. So again your metabolic rate is increased.
Yeah you read that right, a workout can keep you young.
Apart from the fact that working out keeps your muscles strong, your joints limber and flexible, HIIT workouts have been proven to help increase production of your human growth hormone.
This is the hormone that is produced when you’re a kid. It helps you grow into an adult.
But later in life, human growth hormone, or HGH, as it’s otherwise known, will increase nail and hair growth.
So you’ll not only feel young and supple, you’ll look younger as well.
As I’ve mentioned, HIIT workouts require maximum effort. It’s
just for a short time, but it’s still maximum effort.
And it’s that maximum effort that makes your body adapt. And it adapts quickly.
It’s this adaptation that makes you fitter.
Your body becomes more adept at getting oxygen in and transported to the muscles that need it.
And you don’t even have to have been doing HIIT very long to see dramatic increases in fitness.
In fact one study found that just 12 minutes of sprint interval training three times a week was a more effective way of improving fitness levels than an hour of aerobic exercise five times a week.
Other studies have shown that HIIT not only improves your aerobic fitness, it improves your anaerobic fitness as well.
As physical activity goes, HIIT has got to be hands down the best way to improve your fitness levels.
I think I know what you’re thinking here, I don’t want lots of
muscle mass. I don’t want to look bulky. Like a man. Like a body
Maintaining your muscle mass doesn’t mean you’re going to look any one of those.
It means that you’ll be ‘toned’ and firm. Well defined. It means you’ll have an athletic physique.
It means your body will torch calories.
Believe me, you want to maintain muscle mass. You want to be increasing your muscle mass with well planned weight training sessions.
The problem is, when you’re trying to lose weight, your body will turn to your muscle tissue to fuel your activity.
Body fat is harder to turn to energy so it will keep that. Just in case this famine continues.
HIIT exercise encourages your body to turn to your fat stores for it’s fuel, leaving your hard-earned muscles alone.
HIIT isn’t strength training, but, it helps to maintain your muscle strength.
There’s no getting around it, HIIT is an intense workout.
Probably harder than most other workouts. I mean running a marathon is hard, absolutely, but we’re talking about the workouts here, not the end result of workouts. You certainly shouldn’t be running a marathon every week. Not in one go anyway.
But I digress, HIIT workouts are blood tough.
They will have you feeling apprehensive before you start. And during your workout they’ll have you feeling that you can’t go on and you want to give up.
But afterwards. When you’ve finished. And you’ve completed the workout, from start to finish there is definitely a ‘F**K YEAH’ moment.
A moment when you feel invincible. Like you could take on anything. You could take on your kids even!
It’s a great feeling.
And one you will want to relive. Over and over again.
So when you do feel a bit nervous just before starting, or you start to doubt whether you can carry on, remember that feeling.
Feed on it.
Let that give you your motivation.
This has got to be my favourite reason to do HIIT.
And not just because they’ll be over very quickly, although that is a consideration when I’m trying to psych myself up for the workout.
Us mamas don’t have much free time, do we.
We don’t have the luxury of doing an hours workout regularly, whether that’s three or four times a week.
We have to fit our me time in when we can.
And that is the beauty of HIIT. They can fit into any busy schedule. They take less time than more traditional cardio workouts.
Your lunch break, nap time, once the kids are in bed or a quick 15 minutes when they’re otherwise engaged.
A short HIIT workout is the best way to get in a quick workout when you can.
So that is my number one benefit of a HIIT workout, they’re great for people who have a lack of time.
Another reason I love HIIT so much is that you can make anything,
anyway you love to move your body, you can make it into a workout.
Imagine, no more dreading your workout. No more strapping on your trainers and thinking ‘god I don’t want to do this’. No more deciding between the sofa and your workout.
Because you’ll actually want to do your workout. In fact you’ll be counting down the hours.
It’ll be your time to decompress. Your time to do something for yourself.
Yes, with HIIT you can turn anything into a workout. As long as it’s physical activity and you can do it all out, you can make it a HIIT workout.
Don’t believe me? Challenge me. Tell me what you love to do and I’ll help you make it a workout.
Now I could go on about how HIIT workouts help your heart health,
how they help balance your blood sugar levels, or how they help lower
high blood pressure.
They do. Of course they do.
But, as I’ve mentioned above, lots of forms of exercise will do that.
As long as you are increasing your heart rate on a regular basis you will experience positive health outcomes.
Obviously if you’re concerned about heart disease or you’re struggling with pre-diabetes you will be interested to know about how HIIT can help.
But, if you are concerned about a specific health problem, I would suggest you first get checked out by your doctor and then you speak to a personal trainer who is qualified in those areas.
Please don’t just do workouts you randomly find on the web.
Yes, HIIT can help with these conditions but you will need close monitoring.
So, I’m going to leave the specific health benefits there. If you want to know more, please feel free to contact me.
There is no doubt that high-intensity exercise is packed full of
benefits. Especially if it becomes part of a long term fitness plan.
But which one appeals to you the most?
Are you looking for improved general health? Do you want to lose weight? Or, do you want something that’s going to put the spring back in your step? The f**k back in your yeah.
Whatever your reason, focus on it. Let it be your motivation to keep going.
And, as always, let me know how you get on.