High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT = The King of Cardio.
You’ve probably heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and chances are, you’ve already done a HIIT workout before…if you aren’t sure, then you probably haven’t experienced it yet!
HIIT is a fundamental part of CrossFit, it’s incorporated into our training a few times per week in workouts that are suited to all levels of fitness. Why? Because it’s guaranteed to get you lean, strong, conditioned and mentally tough! Yes it’s more challenging than your standard cardio, but it gets results much faster!
What is it?
HIIT is defined as periods of work followed by periods of rest. The “work” time will vary, depending on your fitness level, but it’s always short and sharp to keep the intensity up. It could be 20 seconds of burpees followed by 1 minute rest. Or it could be as simple as running 100m and walking back a few times. The goal is to get the work intensity up to whatever is maximum effort for you.
Why do we include HIIT in our training?
1. Saves Time. The more intense the training, the shorter the workout. Even 6-10min can be beneficial!
2. Faster Fat Loss. HIIT burns more calories than steady state exercise, most of which are after you stop exercising. The higher the intensity, the more your metabolic rate is raised post workout, which can last from a couple of hours to a day or two! This is sometimes known as the “Afterburn effect”…. Pretty cool right?
3. Build Lean Muscle. Cardio and muscle growth together? HIIT is unique in that it encourages your body to build and preserve lean muscle mass by stimulating anabolic hormones, which in turn burns excess body fat. Just picture the bodies of a sprinter (HIIT) versus a long distance runner (steady state cardio) and the clear difference in muscle mass!
4. Less Stress On Your Joints. You spend only a short time loading the joints in HIIT because you’re only working for a short time. Compared to a long 1 hour run, it’s a lot kinder to your skeleton and joints.
5. A Healthy Heart. HIIT is key to improving your cardiovascular health. You need to train your heart just as your train every other muscle in your body, and pushing it to its upper limit is actually super beneficial! Get the heart pumping at 80-90% just a couple of times per week is all you need.
6. Develops Your Work Capacity. This is your ability to do more work or handle higher intensities in a shorter amount of time.
7. Mental Toughness and Confidence. Pushing your body through challenging workouts out of your comfort zone and coming out the other side is a sure fire way to feel like a total BADASS.
Always remember, that Intensity is relative.
What is easy for one person may be intense for another. A fast jog might be as intense as you can go, while an all-out sprint would be too much. So never compare your workout to the person next to you, this is a core belief at Urban because we know we are all at different stages of our journey.
So next time your heart is beating out of your chest, your lungs are burning and your legs are turning to jelly, smile and pat yourself on the back! Because now you know you’re a fat burning, muscle building machine on the road to a long, fit and healthy life.
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