As many of you already know, HIIT is short for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT cardio workout is generally mentioned in the context of effectively losing extra fat, and a large number of people confessions swear in its effectiveness.
And really, studies and research have acknowledged the effectiveness of HIIT. Furthermore, HIIT is proved to be more efficient in burning fat than traditional “normal” anaerobic workout
What is a HIIT workout? It is very easy to describe and understand actually. The concept is simple – you exchange short intervals of high intensity with less intensity intervals of active recovery. High intensity intervals should be at around 90% of max MHR, while short intervals at 50%.
To HIIT Or Not To HIIT
Unlike traditional anaerobic training which lasts around 45 to 60 minutes of the same pace, HIIT saves time (around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on physical readiness) and enables a long-term increase in basic metabolism after training.
It is proven that 24 hours after HIIT workout, your metabolism works 10-15% more than after only anaerobic standard training. That means our body even after we finished our HIIT and are relaxing at home is still burning fat.
That kind of effect is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), which means oxygen is used even more in recovery. What does it mean it practice? If you have finished HIIT in right way, immediately after the end of a workout you will be catching a breath, sweat a lot and feel a certain amount of weakness in legs.
Another favorable effect of HIIT is more production of HGH (growth hormone) which directly benefits toward fat burning effect and at the same time keeping existing muscles mass from catabolism (the breakdown of complex molecules to form simpler ones, together with the release of energy).
If we think about HIIT concept, there are several components that we can change in a workout:
First of them is an interval length of high intensity. Short intervals from 15 to 30 seconds mean and higher effort which will result in higher HGH hormone secretion and higher stream ratio of fatty acids into the bloodstream. That way, fatty acids are becoming available for energy usage.
Intervals longer than 30 seconds results in higher calorie loss. Such longer intervals exhaust glycogen reserves, enabling the body to use fatty acids as an energy source.
Recovery interval duration also affects on HIIT performance. That is part of the HIIT protocol in which we walk or slowly running. If the recovery interval is longer, we will be able to make more difficult higher interval that is about to come. That higher effort will again result in more production of HGH.
Also, longer recovery interval lowers risk of overtraining. Shorter recovery interval causes accumulation of lactic acid, exhaustion of glycogen reserves and bigger EPOC effect. However, its shorter recovery interval increases the risk of overtraining.
Example of HIIT Protocol
This will be an example of HIIT in combination with a classical anaerobic workout, so we benefit from both good sides.
Warm up for 2 minutes. The first phase is HIIT with long recovery interval. Sprint for 15 seconds followed by 45 seconds slow running. That way fatty acids are released into bloodstream and HGH level rises. Repeat 8 times. Along with warm up, this first part lasts for 10 minutes.
In the second phase comes classic cardio workout, so fast walk or slow running (I prefer fast walking as it has less impact on joints). That will enable active muscle recovery after HIIT and will help in burning fatty acids which went to the bloodstream.
The last phase is HIIT again. But now high intervals will be longer. This will cause exhaustion of glycogen reserves with consequently higher EPOC effect and increased burnout of fatty acids. Sprint intervals last for 1 minute and recovery intervals (fast walk) also 1 minute. This phase lasts for 10 minutes.
HIIT review wouldn’t be complete if we wouldn’t mention Tabata training. Some people that had a chance to try it says that instead of high-intensity cardio, more appropriate would be high-insanity cardio. Tabata is THE most efficient HIIT method. It is also the shortest one as 1 set last for (only) 4 minutes.
4 minutes can sound very short, but trust me, if you are doing it right, it could be hardest, longest 4 minutes you have ever survived! Of course, adequate supplements are implied.
Creator or this method is Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Tabata and his team conducted this method on two groups of athletes. T
he first group was training at moderate intensity for one hour, five days a week for a total of six weeks. The second group had high intensity training. Workout lasted four minutes, four days a week for a total of six weeks.
- Group 1 – increased aerobic performance (cardio), but little to none results in anaerobic (muscles).
- Group 2 – much more increase in aerobic performance and increase of 28% in anaerobic.
It is very important that individuals who are not well-trained in HIIT don’t jump right away on the Tabata method. That can be very dangerous and they could easily end up with someone picking them up from the floor (literary).
Instead. starting with Tabata should go gradually, with longer intervals but considerate lower intensity. Using only cardio equipment (not weights), because that way intensity can be gradually dosed. Treadmill, in this case, is not adequate because it can’t be stopped right away.
Example of Tabata
Start with push-ups. Perform them for 20 seconds at a high-intensity and than rest for 10 seconds. This is one set. Once you complete eight sets, rest for one minute. Next, move on to squats: 20 seconds squats, 10 seconds rest. This is also one set. Again, repeat until you do eight sets than rest for one minute. After that, do burpees. Same principle as push-ups and squat.
Staying in shape is never easy. But, if you are one of those who is a determent to lose fat, wants to raise your strength and reach higher results, include HIIT in your workout, and more important, include it workout IN YOUR LIFE. If you will be persistent, benefits from HIIT could be more than you bargain for at the start.
I hope you enjoyed one more post from me. I wanted to explain HIIT in an easy way and try to make it look appealing (as it is). Feel free to comment and share on social media if you find it interesting. And if you have any question, you can ask them bellow in comments or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally answer all of your questions.
As always, looking forward to bringing you more information in the future.