What is HIIT Good For? And Is It Good For Every Workout?

What is HIIT Good For?

Everyone is talking about HIIT cardio, but first, what the heck is HIIT? Is it even good for you? And is it something you need to be doing all the time or just some of the time? If you’re not really sure what all the hype is about, read on, and maybe you, too, will become a hardcore proponent of HIIT workouts.

What is HIIT?

Everyone is talking about HIIT cardio, but first, what the heck is HIIT? Is it even good for you? And is it something you need to be doing all the time or just some of the time? If you’re not really sure what all the hype is about, read on, and maybe you, too, will become a hardcore proponent of HIIT workouts.

What are the Health Benefits of HIIT?

Everyone is talking about HIIT cardio, but first, what the heck is HIIT? Is it even good for you? And is it something you need to be doing all the time or just some of the time? If you’re not really sure what all the hype is about, read on, and maybe you, too, will become a hardcore proponent of HIIT workouts.

  • Muscle-sparing exercise—when you’re dieting, you can have a tendency to easily lose muscle mass along with body fat. One way around this is to engage in HIIT training for your cardio instead of solely using long, drawn-out, steady-state cardio sessions of 30 minutes to an hour. The quick bursts of energy expenditure allow you to burn fat without losing your hard-earned muscle.
  • Save time—this type of workout is super-efficient and can be scheduled into just about anyone’s busy day. With a 5-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cooldown, you can easily fit in a 15-minute HIIT workout for a total of 25 minutes.
  • Fewer workouts needed—whereas you might need to do five days of steady-state cardio for an hour each day to get remotely close to your goals, you can knock out a lot of extra calories with a few short sessions of HIIT per week for similar results.
  • Take advantage of the afterburn—when you do HIIT-style training, you can burn a lot of extra calories, both during your workout and afterward. The cool thing that occurs after you put your body through a HIIT workout is the long-lasting calorie burn called EPOC (which stands for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC keeps your metabolism high for hours after you’ve done your cardio session.
  • Get healthier across the board—not only will doing HIIT-style training help you get in the best shape of your life, but it will also improve your health markers across the board. You’ll better be able to regulate blood sugar, lower your blood pressure, and decrease your levels of stress.
  • Melt off that body fat—yes, doing HIIT will help you virtually dissolve excess body fat! Scientists say you will burn just as much fat and burn off just as many calories (and most likely a whole lot more) doing HIIT than you will slogging through hour-long cardio sessions day after day.
  • Increase your cardiovascular capacity—since these workouts are rather challenging, you’ll get in shape like never before. You can really increase your cardiovascular fitness since you’re going all-out during the “sprint” sessions of your exercise.
  • Convenient and efficient—not only can you knock out an intense workout in under 30 minutes, and you only have to do it a few times a week for maximum efficiency, but it’s super-convenient to do as well. You can do a HIIT workout on a bike, on a track, using a treadmill, running stairs… virtually anywhere you can grab a cardio-type workout.

Why Isn’t Everyone Doing HIIT?

If you do high-intensity workouts on a regular basis, you may soon understand why they’re not necessarily for everyone.

  • First, HIIT workouts can be hard on your joints. Because you’re going all-out during the high-intensity portions on your exercise, your joints can take quite a beating.
  • It’s hard—yes, you read that right. HIIT workouts are downright hard work. So, while these workouts are very effective, not everyone is willing to go through the stress and pain of the sprint (all-out) portions necessary to make the workout effective.
  • You can over-train, and that can lead to injuries—there are reasons why you should do HIIT only a few times a week max. Since the workouts are so intense, and you’re pushing yourself to the max, it’s easier to get injured. And, if you’re already nursing an injury, then pushing it may exacerbate the problem. You should normally allow for several days between HIIT sessions.

How to Use HIIT Workouts Properly

Now that you’re well-versed in what a HIIT workout is and the benefits look appealing to you, you’re ready to try it out for yourself. Now what? How do you get started with a HIIT workout, how often should you do it? How long does a workout last?

You have a lot of questions, and we have the answers!

Setting up a HIIT workout is really pretty straightforward. Start by choosing an exercise where you can quickly and easily crank up the intensity. An example of this style of training would be a five-minute warmup on a stationary bike followed by 15 seconds of sprinting on the bike (cranking it up to a level that almost feels impossible or going as fast as you possibly can). After each 15-second push, you would do 45 seconds at the easiest level (this is your rest). Repeat this cycle 10 to 15 times, and then finish with a 5-minute cooldown.

For an even shorter, effective HIIT workout, a Tabata workout takes the efficiency of the HIIT workout to a whole new level.

Voila! Now you know all about HIIT workouts, and you can even build your own.

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