HIIT has been steadily rising in popularity for the last fifteen years, so more than likely you’ve at least heard the name. But whether you’ve just heard some buzz or you’ve dabbled a little yourself, you might still have some questions.
What is HIIT?
How does it stack up?
Is HIIT for me?
Read on to find out how it compares to other cardio approaches, what sets it apart, and why it could be perfect for you.
HIIT, Is This Explosive Workout Right For You?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. If you hadn’t guessed from the name this one is going to make you sweat, and fast. Time efficiency is the name of the game with the HIIT approach. But, before we get into what sets it apart from traditional cardio, let’s talk about what they have in common.
Like all cardio exercises, HIIT involves a whole body workout, getting your major muscle groups moving and your blood pumping. It’s a whole-body exercise for weight loss and overall fitness.
Also like general cardio, the benefits are mostly the same. HIIT exercise works to:
- Strengthen the heart
- Improve cardiorespiratory efficiency
- Burn calories
- Boost resting metabolism
And these are just the big points, it would take more space than we have here to cover why you shouldn’t be neglecting cardio.
How is HIIT different?
The big differences here are intensity and time.
A HIIT workout pushes cardio to peak intensity with high activity periods broken up by regular periods of less-intense activity for recovery. The timing of these recovery periods is entirely strategic. They’re carefully spaced to allow you to push through the intensity of the workout without overdoing it.
HIIT aims for maximum intensity, and backing off with recovery periods means you can go for longer than you’d otherwise be able.
This is important because the intensity is what the HIIT workout is designed around. You can expect to be regularly hitting 80% of your max heart rate during a HIIT session. Compare that to a more moderate cardio workout where you’d hover between 50-70% max bpm.
Why focus on interval intensity? The answer is time efficiency. HIIT has been proven to result in the same (or better) aerobic endurance improvements when compared to longer duration, low intensity, steady-state cardio.
This means HIIT fits more fitness into less time, and less time means more people can fit exercise into an already packed schedule. While not everyone may be able to spare an hour on the treadmill, a fifteen to twenty-minute HIIT workout can be the perfect way to fit quality cardio into a hectic day.
Is HIIT for Me?
With an emphasis on maximum intensity, HIIT isn’t for everyone.
The demands of a HIIT workout on the heart and joints mean you should be sure those are in good shape to avoid unnecessary injury. Also, pregnant women are discouraged from HIIT after the first trimester. As always, consult a medical professional before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you’re unsure if it could be harmful to your health.
Of course, HIIT boasts some serious advantages, especially for busy people looking to fit in a serious and challenging workout in a short amount of time. If you want to try HIIT for yourself and find out what works for you, EIM professionals will help you get on board. Let’s reach your fitness goals together.