Why Should You Try HIIT Workouts?

January 7, 2021

High-intensity interval training…sounds intimidating, doesn’t it?

While HIIT can be intense, the nature of the workout — short bursts of maximum-effort activity followed by periods of lower-intensity exercise or complete rest — makes it more accessible than you think. After all, finding the willpower to go all out for 30 seconds is far more attainable than powering through 30 minutes.

HIIT is an amazing way to maximize your health benefits in a minimal amount of time. Let’s take a closer look at how you can crush calories without spending hours at the gym!

What are the benefits of HIIT?

Most fitness programs don’t push you into the anaerobic zone. But the “high-intensity” in HIIT pushes you to or near your anaerobic threshold, which improves your cardiovascular and respiratory capacity. A solid HIIT routine is amazing for your heart health.

Combining brief bursts of intense exercise with a recovery period (and repeating this cycle, hence the “interval” aspect) also has a huge payoff for your muscles, metabolism and mood.

Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) Training and Metabolic Circuit Training are the two principles that form the basis of HIIT’s effectiveness.

PHA Training: PHA training typically alternates upper body and lower body exercises. For instance, in a HIIT class you may work your back, chest and arms with 30 seconds of pushups, and then move right into 30 seconds of squats to work your lower body. So you never stop training while letting the muscles of your upper body recover. This optimizes circulation and leads to a better metabolic rate and heart functioning.

Metabolic Circuit Training: Alternating between cardio and muscular conditioning to strengthen the muscles of the heart and everything that surrounds it. This means you get the best of both worlds: the calorie-blasting benefits of intense cardio and the muscle-building benefits of strength training.

Even when you’re done working out, HIIT helps you continue to burn calories; several studies show that it raises your metabolic rate for hours. The same goes for your mood, too.

During HIIT, your heart rate rises above 70 to 75% of your maximum heart rate while doing muscular conditioning exercises, and 85 to 90% during cardio segments. Because of this increased heart rate, the body begins to produce lots of endorphins, which are the body’s natural, feel-good hormones. These boost the immune system, contribute positive effects on anxiety and depression, and improve your mood. 

Studies have also shown that blood sugar and blood pressure can start to be reduced by HIIT exercise programs that are maintained for 30 to 45 days.

How to get started 

With HIIT, you never have to get bored with your exercise routine again. You can continuously “mix and match” movements so that you don’t leave a single large muscle group out. There are endless ways to use your legs, arms and core in a single session. 

Best of all, you can start without any special gym equipment. There’s plenty of great bodyweight moves, like running sprints, power walking or doing jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups or burpees to kick off your routine. Of course, there are also endless ways to incorporate your favorite fitness tools, from the stationary bike to weights to resistance bands. 

To stay safe, remember to build up your intensity. Build your foundation of low-to-moderate intensity exercise. Power walking is a perfect beginning. It allows you to develop form and practice interval training with a low risk of injury. 

When you establish your HIIT regimen, remember that the activity bursts are followed by rests that last about one-third of the time. So for instance, after a 30-second burst of jumping jacks, follow up with 10 seconds of recovery.

Happy HIIT, everyone!

Get your HIIT in with CA

If you’re short on time or ready to try something different, it’s time to incorporate HIIT into your fitness routine. Whether you’d like to enlist a personal trainer, take a group fitness class or enjoy state-of-the-art equipment in our three fitness clubs, CA is here for you. Learn more about on our website.

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