Our resident columns are back! Most of you by now know what HIIT – high intensity interval training is and what it does. If not, it allows you to burn lots of calories in a short amount of time, which often leads to greater fat loss. Ultimately, in our opinion, it can be more fun than standard steady-state cardio exercise, and it takes less time, so you’re more likely to do it. Especially if you can get your workout buddies involved!
Moreover, it also has a strong EPOC – or after burn effect – if you work hard enough, which means you carry on burning calories for a prolonged period even after the session has finished. Result!
Fit In No Time
A HIIT session typically involves a short, sharp session at maximum effort, think 20 or 30 seconds on, 30 – 1 minute off, and so on. You can play with the numbers to suit you and your goals, and the important thing to consider is that there are loads of ways to stimulate muscle using this kind of training, when compared to generic cardio.
For example, a barbell can be used to make HIIT so much more than just a cardio workout. Take a squat with an overhead press… it gets your heart rate going as much, if not more, than any generic cardio exercise, while you also get the advantage of working your muscles, too. Of course, it depends on the end goal of your training, but ultimately HIIT can lead to far bigger gains.
Embrace The Resistance
Ask yourself – is doing a HIIT session going to be more beneficial to someone who just wants to build muscle instead of lifting weights? No, but it can be used in conjunction to look after cardio health and burn calories to ultimately lose fat. It also may not be the best option is you are highly stressed, but if you compare the benefits of HIIT to say, the results of endless cardio with no real resistance training, then working with resistance may prove to be the difference you’ve been missing. You’re greatly improving your movement, your fitness in a different energy system and your enjoyment via variation in your training.
Let’s say you were to do 30 seconds of thrusters with a barbell or dumbbells and then have 30 seconds rest, for five minutes… you’re going to be working a lot of muscle groups. Imagine then following that by changing the exercise to something like a round of pull ups. You can then progress these moves to bigger weights, or by adding other exercises, like adding a burpee to your pull up. This kind of work is much more dynamic than other more monotonous exercises, and it can be easily tweaked to match your progress. HIIT enables you to work on your mobility, flexibility and movement patterns all in one short burst, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the better your body will get at building motor patterns to the movements.
The short time it takes to do a HIIT workout is extremely handy, plus you’re pretty much guaranteed to be working your legs, which many people ignore when simply following their own gym routines. A lot of people still don’t spend enough time training legs, despite the fact that they power your whole body. Excuses for this include people hating working this part of your body, or simply preferring to work on muscles they believe people can see, like arms and shoulders. Yet even a simple 10-minute HIIT session can involve doing 100 squats with a barbell. Job done!
People have less and less time these days and they simply want to go and get their fitness session done and forget about it. No matter how busy you are, HIIT is a viable option because everyone has 10 or 20 minutes. There’s really no excuse.
And if you’re unsure what to do, turn to social media. HIIT training really lends itself to the concise nature of the platforms. You’ll no doubt have seen us (hopefully!) and others doing Instagram videos, YouTube how-tos and loads more, all explaining a variety of HIIT sessions. People want it all broken down into quick, easy and simple pointers.
It really is a no brainer…
You can catch up with The Lean Machines on their YouTube channel youtube.com/TheLeanMachines