Get Leaner, Fitter and Faster with HIIT

I was introduced to HIIT a few years back when I desperately needed a change from my usual cardio sessions (i.e. running on the treadmill). After returning from living in Italy for a period of time (and being stuffed to the face with pastas and pizzas), I was looking to improve my sluggish metabolic rate, reduce body fat and reach my goals of a  leaner and more toned body.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was seriously effective for me. This workout type is set to turn your body into a fat burning machine and boost your metabolic rate while preserving muscle. It is the fastest way to shed pounds and achieve a lean, muscular physique.

WHAT IS HIIT?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a form of cardiovascular exercise that can be done anywhere. A typical HIIT workout alternates short bursts of intense exercise between periods of recovery. Most workout sessions do not exceed 20 minutes, and Tabata, one of the most popular routines, can take as little as three minutes.

You can find recommended HIIT workouts on Fitness Blender, Pop Sugar Fitness, Be Fit, and Tone it Up. Drop me a comment below if you have any HIIT regimes to recommend!

BENEFITS OF HIIT

An overwhelming number of studies have proven the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training. This form of exercise burns calories and promotes lean muscle growth while preventing catabolism. It also increases your strength and endurance, raises your heart rate, and speeds up your metabolism. This training method may also improve cognitive function, boost cardiovascular health, and increase aerobic endurance. A study has shown that after eight weeks of high intensity exercise, subjects could run twice as long as they did before starting HIIT.

According to health experts, High Intensity Interval Training provides all the benefits of steady state cardio in a fraction of time. While regular aerobic training sheds fat and muscle, HIIT burns fat only. For this reason, high intensity exercise is a favorite choice for athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models during cutting phases.

Given the intense nature of interval training, most people continue burning energy at a higher rate over the course of the next day following a HIIT workout. This is because High Intensity Interval Training increases metabolic rate for as long as 48 hours after you leave the gym. Regular cardio, on the other hand, burns calories only for the duration of your workout.

Another advantage of HIIT is that you can train anytime, anywhere. Rowing, biking, running, jump roping, stair climbing are all great workout exercises for HIIT. This intense interval training technique can be implemented to any type of workout. Since it requires no special equipment, you can exercise at home, outdoors, or while traveling. It’s a quick, effective way to overcome weight loss plateaus and take your workouts to a whole new level.

CONS OF HIIT

Whether you want to lose fat, boost your endurance, or keep fit, it is recommended for the general population not exceed three sessions of HIIT a week (unless you are an athlete, or have been training for a long time). Given the intense nature of HIIT, overdoing it may increase the risks of overexertion and injury.

High Intensity Interval Training is safe for most people. However, it may not be appropriate for individuals who have just started working out, as well as for those who have taken a break from the gym for a while. If you have knee, back, joint, or hip problems, avoid high impact exercises like treadmill running. Ensure that you check with a fitness professional on your form and avoid overtraining.

If you’re new to exercise, focus on building your fitness level first. Lift weights at least three times a week, do slow and moderate intensity cardio, and let your body adjust to your routine. As you progress, incorporate HIIT into your workouts and try new exercises to keep your muscles guessing.

SOFIA NUTRITION’S HIIT WORKOUT

Here’s my favorite High Intensity Interval Training workout as recommended by Damien from Equip Fitness! I shared with him my goal of wanting to achieve a lean and more toned body, and he recommended that I incorporate specific HIIT exercises followed by strength training exercises for each workout session.

There are three exercises in this workout – tricep dips, bosu jump squats, and mountain climbers. Cycle through 30 seconds of all three exercises with 15 seconds of active rest (jogging on the spot, stretching, or walking) in between each exercise. For a complete HIIT workout, cycle through the set of exercises 3 to 7 times, before resting completely and doing cool down stretches. You can pretty much switch any of these three exercises with something that you like, such as jumping jacks, walking push-ups, burpees etc.

Sofia Nutrition's HIIT Workout Plan

If you are interested in joining classes for HIIT workouts, Equip has a variety of different classes that are based on HIIT – Reshape, Group Circuit Training and Avengers Training. The class schedule and descriptions can be found here.

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