High-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT): You’ve been hearing about it everywhere but you still don’t understand what’s so great about it. Maybe you think it’s only for uber-athletes (false), maybe you think you’re better off sticking to your tried-and-true steady cardio routine (nope), or maybe you just don’t know enough about HIIT yet to know what to think. Here are the top 5 reasons to do more HIIT.
1. Increase Your Metabolism
During intense bouts of exercise, we consume more oxygen than we do when we’re working at a slower, steadier pace. That extra oxygen translates into a higher post-exercise calorie burn. That means even when you’re done exercising – even when it’s hours after your workout finished – you still burn calories. When you burn more calories throughout the day, you lose weight easier and quicker. Incorporate HIIT into your exercise routine and spike your metabolism. Wondering where to start? Try this 15-minute HIIT cardio workout: skaters, mountain climbers, jump squats, high knees, bicycle crunches, and air jump rope. Do each move for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 4 times for each exercise. Rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
2. Spend Less Time Working Out
Want to see greater results in less time? Try HIIT. Spend 15 minutes doing interval training on your lunch break three times a week and research says you’ll burn calories faster than the person who spends an hour jogging on the treadmill. And get this: the American College of Sports Medicine says 2 weeks of high-intensity interval training is the equivalent of 6-8 weeks of endurance training when it comes to aerobic capacity. Here’s a ten-minute HIIT workout to try: jab, cross, front (right side), jab, cross, front (left side), jumping jacks and sumo squats. Do three rounds of 20 seconds of each move followed by 10 seconds of rest.
3. Do It Anywhere
Don’t have a gym membership? Don’t want to leave your living room? You don’t have to go anywhere to do HIIT. Simply lace up your shoes and start. There is no equipment required for this type of workout – you can use a treadmill, bike, or similar piece of equipment, but you absolutely don’t have to. Here’s a full-body HIIT workout that requires no equipment and can easily be done at home.
4. Burn Fat Like Crazy
Don’t forget the first two letters in the acronym stand for High and Intensity. If you don’t exert yourself, you won’t see results. If you do exert yourself, though – if you work at 90 percent of your maximum during the intervals and get your body into anaerobic mode – you will produce and use energy more efficiently. When this happens, you will burn more fat. And when that happens, you will lose more weight. If you’re a runner, check out these three HIIT running workouts: one for the track, one for the hills, and one for the trails.
5. Attack your belly fat
You still can’t spot-reduce, but current research suggests HIIT trumps traditional cardio when it comes to getting rid of abdominal body fat. You also look slimmer just by strengthening your core muscles, since doing so draws your abs in and helps to improve your posture. Try this 15-minute belly-busting HIIT workout to and quickly flatten those stomach muscles.
About the Author: KRISTEN FORBES