Today I want to talk about a type of workout that I think has the most benefits overall compared to other types of training and has amazing results for weight loss.
Aerobic exercises burn a lot of calories but can push your body in catabolic state which causes your body to lose muscle and decreases your body’s metabolic rate.
Weight training increases your body’s muscle mass and metabolic rate, but it doesn’t burn as many calories.
Here comes HIIT or High intensity interval training, which burns tons of calories, builds muscles, pushes your body into anabolic state increases metabolic rate and has fantastic results for weight loss.
I try to do my HIIT workouts as regular as possible and really feel like something is missing when I don’t do them for some reason.
Human body needs exercise in order to maintain health and performance. Many studies have shown, that regular physical activity prolongs life, boosts immune system, burns fat, prevents degenerative disease, has a therapeutical effect mood disorders like depression and anxiety and has an overall impact on your wellbeing.
The problem of our modern life is that we don’t actually need to do regular physical labor and we don’t need to hunt for our food or run from predators as our ancestors did for thousands of years. Most of us live comfortable lives with little or no exercise in our daily routine. We drive to work, buy our food nicely packed, dishwasher washes our dishes and water runs out of pipes straight into our kitchen. We have made our lives pretty easy and there is nothing wrong with it, but our body needs regular physical activity.
The other problem of our modern life is also a chronic lack of time. Even if we would like to go running, climbing or playing sports we often don’t find time to do those activities. We work long hours in the office, we commute back and forth from where we live to where we work and all that is before you have children, once you have children you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom.
Why am I explaining all this? As there is a lack of time we need to find a way to get the most out of our training in the shortest amount of time. I am not saying you don’t need to do anything else than HIIT, but most of us don’t have time to walk for 2 hours a day even though this is highly beneficial. HIIT or high intensity interval training will give you the most benefits for weight loss in the shortest amount of time. It will boost your anabolic hormone production such as human growth hormone (HGH) and Testosterone, and decrease your stress hormone levels. It will speed up your metabolism for many hours after your workout, which is really helpful for burning more calories throughout the day. A 20 minute long HIIT workout 3 times a week will have a great impact for weight loss and on your overall health and physical performance. You will get even better results if you are do HIIT together with Intermittent fasting 16/8. There is no other workout out there that can deliver so many benefits in such a short amount of time dedicated to it.
What is a HIIT workout
HIIT workout as any kind of high intensity activity, usually somewhere in between 20 seconds and one minute that brings you in anaerobic state in a short time frame alternated with low intensity intervals usually somewhere between 1-2 minutes long. HIIT type of workouts can be applied to running exercises, squatting or other types of high intensity training. This kind of workout allows you to achieve maximum performance for short bursts and the low intensity intervals allow for your body to recuperate and prepare for the next interval of high intensity. This method of training has been proven to have more benefits than doing other kind of workouts.
Anaerobic literally means without air. Your body can provide enough energy in all out efforts, where your muscles don’t receive enough oxygen, for up to one minute. For the first 15 seconds little lactic acid is being produced and even short rest periods can provide a full recovery. After about 15 seconds lactic acid starts to build up much faster and about after 30 seconds this becomes very taxing on your muscles and nervous system and your body needs much longer to recover.
Aerobic means with air, that means that you can provide enough oxygen to your muscles to operate. This are usually activities that are longer than 3-4 minutes and the fatigue remains relatively low as long there is enough oxygen to provide the energy.
The most basic HIIT workout
To give you an example of a typical HIIT workout that everyone can easily understand I will present you the sprints intervals I really love to do as it is one of the most basic workouts you can think of and you can do it everywhere.
Sprints intervals: you should find a long straight path you can run easily without having to watch your step. Try to measure about 200 meters from a starting point and remember that location. Warm Up appropriately as the name high intensity training already tells you this is a high intensity training and you should be properly warmed up before you start your intervals. I usually do a slow run first, flex a little, than do two slow and relaxed 200 meter “sprints”. When doing this slow sprints you should do it really relaxed so no actual sprinting just a fast paced run which you are comfortable with. After you are properly warmed up I do about six to ten 200 meter sprints and walk normally back to the starting point (some people prefer to run slowly, but you need a little more distance that way as you will not be ready to do a proper sprint again after 200 meters of jogging, so you can run another 100 meters in the opposite direction from your starting point and then run back). Sometimes I alternate it a little by doing some shorter and some longer sprints and mix it up a little so I don’t get bored.
This is probably the simplest and most basic way of HIIT workout, but there are many different options and there are a lot you could do also at home.
HIIT workouts plans
Warmup: as already discussed it is essential to be properly warmed up before doing any workout especially a HIIT workout.
Simple warm up routine:
- Jog in place for 30 seconds
- 20 jumping jacks
- Jog in place for 45 seconds
- 30 jumping jacks
- Rotate your hips 8 rotations in each direction
A beginners HIIT routine:
5 rounds of:
- 15 burpees*.
- 45 seconds of rest
*The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as a HIIT exercise. The basic movement is performed in four steps and known as a “four-count burpee”:
Begin in a standing position.
- Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. (count 1)
- Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended, then do a push up. (count 2)
- Immediately return your feet to the squat position. (count 3)
- Jump up from the squat position (count 4)
If you want to take it a step further you can use light weights 3-10 (depending on your gender and physical shape) pounds and do the same exercise with a pair of dumbbells in your hands
Biggest benefits of HIIT
Lose weight: you will be burning calories for hours after your workout
After your HIIT workout, a process also known as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), or the so called ‘afterburn’ effect, begins in your body.
This is basically just a process of increased oxygen intake to correct the body’s ‘oxygen debt’ brought about by the performed HIIT workout.
The more intense the exercise performed, the greater this ‘oxygen debt’ becomes – note the word intense, not longer.
Your body increases oxygen consumption to restore itself to a resting state.
To reach a resting state again, it needs to restore hormone balances, replenish phosphagen stores, carry out cellular repair and oxidize built-up lactic acid.
Carrying out all of these chemical processes requires energy and where do you think your body is going to get this energy?
A time saving workout
As we have already mentioned a HIIT workout can provide all of its benefits in a really short time, you really don’t need to be sweating for hours, 20 minutes three times a week will give you most of its benefits for weight loss.
Any type of HIIT will give you similar results
Recent studies have shown that even different types of HIIT workouts produce same benefits. For example doing regular running sprints or sprints performed on a bicycle will give you same results. Any type of HIIT workout will push your body into weight loss state.
It is great for your heart
HIIT has great benefits for your cardiovascular system as it elevates your heart rate for short periods of time. Unless you are already suffering from some sort of cardiovascular disease you should perform HIIT workouts on a regular basis. Please read who needs to consult a doctor before performing any kind of HIIT workouts at the bottom of this article.
It increases muscle mass
You must put a heavy load on your body in order to get into an aerobic state. This increased load is highly beneficial for building muscles. The entire process also elevates HGH and Testosterone levels which are the two biggest muscle growing hormones in your body.
No equipment needed
You don’t actually need any equipment to perform your exercises, you can do sprints outside or even do it indoors doing burpees as we have described it above. All you need is some good will and consistency and you can achieve great results.
Is HIIT safe?
Anyone should consult a doctor before performing any type of high intensity workouts. There are certain risk groups who are should take extra care.
You must consult your doctor before doing HIIT if:
- You have been told by your doctor that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor because you have a heart condition
- You currently have prescribed medications for your blood pressure or heart condition from your doctor
- You currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 2 months
- You feel any sort of pain in your chest when you do physical activity
- You had any chest pain in the past month when not doing physical activity
- You lose your balance as a result of dizziness or you have ever lost your consciousness or collapsed
- You have a bone or joint problem (eg back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by exercise