Let’s break it down. High intensity interval-training (HIIT) involves short, intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of recovery. The basic recipe is to go as hard as you can for a short period of time, rest, and then repeat.
This proven training method, particularly the use of the recoveries, allows you to keep reaching your maximum training zone again and again, shocking your body each and every workout.
Research shows us that this type of training helps burn calories for hours after your workout*, but it also results in 9% more fat loss** and is overall 17% more effective than your standard aerobic or “steady state” training***. So what’s not to love?
The thing is, HIIT is well… intense! It’s best served on top of a base level of fitness and other moderate exercise to really get the benefits.
So the question is – are you ready to HIIT it?
To answer that question – it’s important to know where you are in your fitness journey. You might fall into one of roughly three categories:
- You’re totally new to fitness
In this case, jumping head-first into HIIT is almost definitely a bad idea. In order to get your body used to exercise and your fitness up, we recommend 12 weeks of consistent moderate intensity exercise including strength, cardio and core/flexibility training each week. Check out our SMARTSTART guide for everything you need to know on building your base. When you’re just starting out, frequency is more important than intensity so take it slow and try to form some habits that will stick.
- You’re an intermediate exerciser
Once you have a base level of fitness the secret to ultimate fitness and results is not in adding volume, but intensity. Now is the perfect time to introduce HIIT to your existing schedule. Try replacing an hour a week of your normal training routine with 1-2 HIIT sessions, and watch your results soar! Check out the results of a group who did exactly this when compared to a group who carried on their normal training.
- You’re an experienced exerciser or athlete
The great thing about HIIT is that pushes you to hit your own maximum training zones every workout – there’s no cruising. So even if you are super fit or an athlete, HIIT will still give your fitness a serious edge. Check out the results an elite womens’ soccer teams saw from adding just 2x HIIT sessions a week to their pre-season training.
So where do you sit on the fitness scale? If you’re ready to HIIT it, check out your nearest LES MILLS GRIT workout. Take on the challenge and get results – fast. If introducing HIIT to your training is a more long-term goal for you, check out our SMARTSTART section to help get you on your way.
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*20 minutes of HIIT leaves you burning fat for 9 hours after the workout. Laforgia J, Withers RT, Gore CJ. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2006;24(12):1247-1264.
**HIIT is 9 times more effective for fat loss than steady state training. Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental. 1994;43(7):814-818.
***HIIT is 17% more effective than steady state training. Schjerve IE, Tyldum GA, Tjonna AE, et al. Both aerobic endurance and strength training programmes improve cardiovascular health in obese adults. Clinical science. 2008;115(9):283-293.