Ladies, HIIT can be really great for whatever you’re looking to achieve. Whether you’re starting a new diet or just looking to get in shape, you’ve likely come across the term “HIIT” by now.
If you’re not quite sure what HIIT means, it stands for high-intensity interval training. It holds up a strong promise and is said to be one of the most effective and efficient ways to burn calories. However, as we all have crazy, busy and stressed-out lives nowadays, does faster always mean better?
You’re probably here because you want to know if you should be doing HIIT every day. Well, the answer, ladies, is no. It’s recommended that we get 30 minutes of exercise a day to get our bodies healthy, but not something as demanding as HIIT.
If you were to work out that intensely every single day, you’d put yourself at risk of burnout, injury and overtraining. All of these things could also prevent your muscles from getting stronger and your body recovering correctly.
Let’s get to it and discover all there is to know about HIIT.
First things first, what is HIIT?
So, as we are now aware, HIIT is high-intensity interval training. Just as the name suggests, this is a high-level and strength exercise, over brief periods of time, followed by short periods of rest.
The exercise part of HIIT can be intervals of 15 seconds up to a couple of minutes. Usually, a workout has between five and eight exercises at 30-60 seconds each, with 20-30 second rests in between.
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During the intense exercise, you’ll go as hard as you possibly can, giving 100% of your efforts. This will cause your body to go into an anaerobic state on which it will then rely on glucose for energy. The fact your body will be “deprived” of free oxygen means you’ll burn fast and enhance your stamina.
In order to get the most benefits from a HIIT workout, you’ll want to push yourself as hard as you can, with a small rest in between. Another important thing to recognize is that you want to keep correct form throughout all your exercises. This is to prevent injury and get the most from your workout.
Are there different kinds of HIIT?
There are many forms of HIIT, and all of them include cardiovascular exercises to get your heart going.
Cycling, sprinting and jumping are all types of HIIT exercises. Say you chose cycling, to turn it into a HIIT workout, cycle as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then at a slower pace for a minute. That would be one round, to complete a workout, repeat anywhere between four and six times.
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic fitness, is any form of exercise that increases your breathing and heart rate. It’s different from HIIT as it’s not so quick and intense, but more of a slow and steady cardio exercise. Cardio includes exercises such as:
- Aerobic classes
Just to stop confusing you, we should explain, that aerobic and cardio exercise are the same. They’re just referring to different mechanisms; “Cardio” refers to the process connected to the heart and “aerobic” covers any exercise that uses oxygen.
Tabata is a form of HIIT, however, it is somewhat different as it requires doing the same exercise for four minutes.
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According to the Journal of Sports Science & Science Medicine, Tabata workouts require exercising for 20 seconds at maximum capacity, resting for 10 seconds and repeating. To complete a full workout do this for eight rounds, totaling four minutes.
HIIT: The benefits
As HIIT is so demanding and you put everything you’ve got into it, you want to be getting the most out of it too, right, ladies? Well, good news, research has shown that HIIT workouts can provide benefits almost twice that of moderate exercise.
HIIT (High-intensity interval training) can help to improve heart health and blood sugar. Studies have shown that those who are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure (pre-hypertensive), have noticed an improvement in resting blood pressure levels and C-reactive protein and inflammation. Both of these have been linked to the development of heart disease.
This study also showed that the participants who did eight weeks of HIIT of stationary cycling showed the same decrease in blood pressure as those doing traditional endurance exercises. The reason most of us neglect our workouts is due to a lack of time. But, HIIT workouts could be a great and effective alternative.
An analysis also discovered that HIIT reduces blood sugar and improves insulin resistance more than standard cardio exercise. Healthier blood sugar will boost your energy levels and you may also find that you experience fewer sugar cravings. Not only that, but all of this reduces your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes.
Boosted calorie burn
Research has revealed that HIIT workouts have the potential to burn 25-30% more calories than other forms of cardio exercise such as running and cycling. This particular study followed a HIIT ratio of 20-second exercise intervals with 40 seconds of rest.
The great thing you’ll love to learn about HIIT is that it continues to burn calories, even after you’ve finished your workout.
Women in this particular study completed six sessions that included HIIT, aerobic exercise and resistance training. So that they could measure how effectively their bodies were burning that energy, the participants were given carbohydrates and protein. After exercise and resting, all rates were analyzed and on average HIIT produced the greatest post-exercise calorie burn.
Things to consider
How often you’re doing HIIT workouts will be determined by a number of factors. We now know, it is a highly effective workout, but it is important that we also look into the risks that come with it. Due to the fact you’ll be exercising at your hardest, it is vital that you warm up, follow the correct form, use different muscle groups, change things up and make sure you also allow yourself rest.
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As HIIT is a demanding workout, it can elevate stress hormones, which is why it is important to rest and not overdo it.
Get yourself warmed up
Help yourselves by simply adding a few more minutes into your workout and warming up or stretching, it can help by:
- Mentally preparing you to workout
- Prevent injury
- Boost your performance
Switch things up
HIIT workouts offer a lot of benefits in a shorter space of time. However, this may allow some of us to think that doing more and more will offer the same. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that, you’ve gotta mix it up.
Just to throw another acronym at you, there is also FITT. This stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Following this will allow you to have a greatly successful fitness routine and maintain a healthy weight.
To give you as much insight as possible, here is an example of FITT in HIIT:
- Frequency – start with one workout a week and then increase to two
- Intensity – start with just the cardio, then bring in the weights
- Time – aim to exercise for 15 minutes, then up this to 20
- Type – to begin, just to regular HIIT, then maybe experiment with Tabata
HIIT workouts once or twice a week as well as mixing in some lighter exercise on the other days will allow you to recover.
Don’t neglect weight training
Strength training is important for your health, particularly where it concerns your heart, bones, weight and balance too. This type of exercise requires exercising different muscle groups to improve muscular fitness.
To reap the full benefits from strength training, try to incorporate different types of equipment from dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and your own body weight too.
Follow the correct form
When working out, it is vital that you maintain the correct form. In doing so, you’ll avoid injuring yourself and strengthen the muscles you’re using. Safely following the correct form will also allow you to improve. Have a think about that person you see at the gym who can squat lower than you, that can and will be you.
If you’re someone that does use weights during your HIIT workouts or wants to, then following the correct technique is even more important. Weights add more stress to your joints and muscles than they’re used to carrying. It would be the same if you were to use your body weight for certain exercises, like jumping. It’s also worth noting that when not following the correct form, you’ll be using more energy than you need to.
Take your rest days
When you work out and do the same exercise for two or more days in a row, it doesn’t allow your body the time it needs to get stronger and recover. Not only that, but you’ll likely find that after a while, your body and mind get tired of the same workout.
It needs to be recognized that recovery and rest days are just as important as the workout itself. When you get good quality sleep and your muscles have had time to repair, you’ll reach your goals faster.
Ladies, we aren’t saying to not do any exercise over your rest days, instead practice active recovery. This is just light activity to keep your body moving, examples of this could be:
- A yoga class
- A light bike ride
- Taking a walk
The aim here is to get the blood flowing through your muscles and joints without exerting the heart or muscles you worked during your HIIT exercises.
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