Many people believe they must participate in long, consistent cardio workouts in order to shed those extra calories from the previous weekend adventures or get the benefits of staying youthful. One of the biggest barriers to exercising is the lack of free time to go to the gym. Luckily, there are easy ways to work around both! All you need is 30 minutes of your busy schedule to participate in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue. Though there is no universal HIIT session duration, typically these workouts are about 30-minutes in length. However, regardless of the length of time of the HIIT class, the goal is to continuously push yourself to work hard.
HIIT “involves repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times.” HIIT workouts push yourself to perform at 80-95% of your maximal heart rate improving your fitness, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, and abdominal fat, while still managing to maintain muscle mass.
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HIIT exercises burn more fat than long term, low intensity exercises, like jogging or biking, even though they take less time to perform. HIIT workouts burn more calories because of excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
EPOC lasts for about 2 hours after your workout when your body exerts more energy restoring back to normal levels. Since HIIT workouts tend to be more vigorous and straining on your muscles and body than long term, low intensity workouts, your body will burn up to 6-15% more calories.
But what is a good HIIT workout? There are no one-size-fits all methods in determining what constitutes a “good workout”, rather, it’s better to judge the workout based on how exhausted you feel after it and whether it’s something that you can see yourself continuing to participate in. Consistency is always key when it comes to exercising, so making sure you enjoy the workout enough to continue working out is important. Afterall, you likely won’t see the many benefits of HIIT after just one workout session.
There are many easy ways to participate in HIIT workouts. They can be done at the gym, outside or even in your home. Below are a few HIIT combinations you can do in various locations:
In the gym: 3 reps of each
- Sprint intervals on the bike or treadmill (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off 3x)
- A minute of 3 cardio bursts of choice: squat jumps, mountain climbers, high knees, jump rope, jumping jacks, lunges, quick feet, burpees etc.
- Sprint stairs for 3 minutes
In your home: 3 reps of each
- 15 burpees, 15 mountain climbers, 15 jumping jacks
- A minute of each: squat pulses, calf raises, side lunges
- A minute of each ab exercise: bicycle abs, leg raises, toe touches, plank
Outside: 3 reps of each
- Sprint as fast as you can for 50 yards 3x
- Find a bench and jump up on it starting and ending in a squat for 50 seconds on 10 seconds off 3x
- 45 seconds of each: burpees, pushups against the bench, tricep dips using bench
If you get bored of one workout, mix it up. There are plenty of HIIT workouts to participate in to shred calories and get in shape.