High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. Scientific evidence has shown that it reduces both all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. For the “well population”, HIIT can deliver great fitness and health results in as little as 4 minutes a few times a week.
What Exactly Is HIIT?
HIIT is a type of training that alternative periods of very high-intensity exercise with periods of either active or passive rest. HIIT workouts are normally characterized by the following:
• Repetitive in nature (volume mediated)
• High speeds or sustained contractions
• Incomplete recovery
• Challenges the will, mind, and body
HIIT can be used both anaerobically (in the gym with weights targeting large muscle groups) and aerobically with cardio.
What Are The Benefits?
At higher intensities, you’re burning far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. Studies have proven that this training has not only benefits to fat loss, but also leads to improvements in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2Max). It also reduces blood pressure, total cholesterol, blood sugar and other risk factors related to chronic disease.
As an added bonus, there’s also an afterburn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You’ll increase metabolism and burn more energy (calories) for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a long slow jog burns almost no calories afterward.
Try HIIT Yourself With This 7-minute Workout
HIIT training is great, but it does need to do with care. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are new to exercise, you should chat to your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before doing any high-intensity training.
This simple 7-minute HIIT workout can be done on an exercise bike or stepper. If you don’t have the equipment, try sprinting, jumping or the stairs to load the lower body. You’ll transition from slow periods of active rest to fast, high-intensity periods of work.
120 sec Slow: First, you warm-up for a couple of minutes at a low to moderate intensity.
20 sec Fast: Go as fast as you possibly can for 20 seconds.
120 sec Slow: Go slow for a couple of minutes while you catch your breath.
20 sec Fast: Do another 20 seconds flat out.
120 sec Slow: Take two minutes of gentle moving to catch your breath before the finale.
20 sec Fast: The last sprint of 20 seconds – leave nothing in the tank!
Slow down for a few minutes and cool off with some light stretches.
Written by Steven Roberts. Steven is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who runs his own business and is committed to keeping people fit and healthy.