The fitness world is buzzing about the wonders of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). From the bikini body guide guru Kayla Itsines to Arnold Classic winner, Kai Greene; this workout is all but a fitness trend. Building muscle, enhancing endurance and we admit, shedding (a lot) of those extra kilos, are just some of the benefits that a good HIIT session can give you. So, grab those kettlebells and get ready for some serious gym gains.
What is it all about
High intensive interval training is exactly what its name suggests: it’s high intensive bursts of cardio for a short period of time, with a rest period that is either the same length or longer. To explain it simply, think of a basic spinning workout. You cycle at a normal, comfortable pace for 1 minute, followed by a sprint at your maximum effort, for 30 seconds. Continue this for 10 minutes and viola, you have completed a HIIT workout.
HIIT workouts are all about short bursts of exercise to get your heart pumping and the sweat dripping. This helps your body work much harder than it would in a steady-state. Hiit cardio goes beyond the basic need for fat loss and can be applied to various other fitness goals. The training methods are not only limited to cardio. Equipment, strength, resistance, as well as functional training, can also be converted into Hiit Sets.
Hiit Cardio is endurance based by default. Endurance training is all about converting those extra fat reserves into energy, a process called aerobic metabolism. This process focusses on producing sustained energy
Hiit cardio causes the Aerobic metabolism process to be intertwined with Anaerobic metabolism. Anaerobic Metabolism is a process where the body creates energy through the combusting of carbohydrates, due to a lack of oxygen. This process kicks in when your heart is functioning at 85% above your maximum heart rate.
When you perform that 30-second bursts, your heart rate rapidly increases, which means that your body is providing you energy with Anaerobic metabolism. When you decrease your effort, your body returns to Aerobic metabolism.
This means that your endurance is continuously increasing the more you perform HIIT. It also provides you with a platform to get comfortable to increase not only your time performing an event but also the effort at which you normally perform it. For instance, if you generally cycle on level 4 on the spinning machine, with your max effort set at 8, your body will be able to adjust to higher level-causing your resting cycling level to increase to level 6 or seven.
We know that 90% of the guys are much keener to pump the iron than to spend their gym time performing those exercises featured in the Bikini Body guide. But what if we told you that performing HIIT cardio can actually help increase your strength? Performing a HIIT workout using body weight or added weights like kettlebells, help improves strength. It’s all about working as hard as possible during short bursts while efficiently resting between your sets. Like every free weight workout, you must up your game as soon as you get comfortable with your training. HIIT workouts are exactly the same- if you are using weights or bodyweight to perform your intensive bursts, increase your weights as soon as it stops challenging you.
The perfect combination
Hiit exercise is the best when combined with weight training- which helps develop strength as well as leading to pure fat loss. Hiit exercise helps tremendously with fat loss- but only if it’s correctly done. Remember, the one true rule of Hiit is to work as hard as you can, rest, and repeat! Also, scheduling a HIIT workout for every day of the week might not be as effective as you think. We find that the perfect combination for a 5-day cycle is scheduling a HIIT session for three of those 5 days and supplementing the other two days with cardio. On each day the best results will be achieved when it’s combined with strength or body weight exercises.