Many people want to work out but struggle with time or motivation, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise designed to tone muscles and burn fat in a fraction of the time as conventional exercise.
HIIT alternates short periods of high-intensity exercise with recovery periods of low-intensity exercise. Typically, a HIIT session is 15 seconds to 4 minutes of activity at 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Recovery periods are of equal or longer durations at 40 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate to foster an active recovery.
A cardio based HIIT session could involve 1 minute of sprinting at your maximum capacity followed by 2 minutes of power walking. You would then repeat this six to 10 times, creating the benefits of an average workout in a fraction of the time.
Pros Of HIIT
1. Saves Time
HIIT is the perfect solution for those who want a high-intensity work-out but are time sensitive. Studies show that 20 minutes of HIIT is equivalent to 40-50 minutes of jogging.
2. Burns Fat
High-intensity training has proven to burn more fat in less time than comparable low-intensity workout routines. It also assists in increasing your metabolism.
3. Improves endurance
HIIT adapts to your muscles cellular structure allowing you to increase your endurance while undergoing any form of exercise. HIIT is far more effective than medium intensity training regimes.
A study discovered that after eight weeks of HIIT workouts, participants could cycle twice as long as they could prior to starting HIIT while maintaining their previous speed.
4. Retains Muscle
Evidence indicates that you shed less muscle via HIIT compared to alternative forms of up-tempo exercise.
5. You Can Do HIIT Anywhere
HIIT gives you the ability to employ simple aerobic exercises. This allows you to workout anywhere without the inconvenience and expense of having to buy special equipment.
6. Effective Energy Utilisation And Toxin Purge
HIIT’s system of high-intensity workouts followed by short resting periods train your body to use your natural energy more efficiently while helping to remove toxic wastes from your muscles during your rest periods.
Cons Of HIIT
1. Overuse Can Trigger An Injury
If you fail to follow a progressive training program you may find yourself suffering an overuse injury. HIIT puts stress on your nervous system, joints, muscles and connective tissue. Vary your routine to avoid impact stress from running, jumping or shuffling.
2. Highly Demanding Exercise Regime
If you lack a solid training base behind you, HIIT’s demands can overstrain your body leaving you predisposed to an overuse injury.
3. Irritable Mood
High-intensity cardio training may induce irritability in some people. Low to moderate intensity exercise has been found to elevate moods, while your mood following a high-intensity exercise session appears to vary substantially.
4. HIIT Is Not For Everyone
HIIT training is intense, you need to have an established baseline level of fitness to participate. If you’re not used to intense workouts, you can place your body under severe stress.
High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to improve your level of fitness in a comparatively short period of time. However, it’s not going to be easy, expect yourself to be sore and exhausted after each session.
1. Stretch And Warm-Up
You should do a warm-up before every work out and HIIT is no exception. A dynamic 5 to 10 minute warm-up before you begin your HIIT session will kick start your heart rate and prepare your body to work.
2. Use A Timer
Set alarms on your phone or use a timer to ensure each interval is sticking to the correct time without being distracted by checking the time.
3. If You’re Over 50 And Have Preexisting Injuries, Consult Your Doctor First
High intensity workouts aren’t for everyone. If you’re over 50, you are experiencing discomfort or recovering from an injury it is recommended that you consult your GP before completing HIIT.
Southport Central Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic exists to provide solutions for patients suffering from pain associated with wear and tear and overuse injuries.
We apply our expertise as physiotherapists together with a problem-solving approach to determine those activities that are triggering your pain and provide treatment and education on improving the condition or injury to get you pain-free.