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You have probably heard a lot recently about the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) trend that has been sweeping the nation. There are many reasons why this has become so popular recently and we are here to talk about them.  With so many gimmicks constantly bombarding you with empty promises on how to burn fat, gain muscle and get that body you always wanted, it is refreshing to finally find something that works. Living in such a fast paced world, I think it is fair to say that, at one time we have all tried some crazy diet or workout routine that promised us the results we always wanted. Unfortunately, these workouts and diets probably didn’t work. The most likely reason is because realistically, you can’t keep it up. Finding something that you can enjoy doing regularly is the key to getting the body you always wanted.  

Before we get into the reasons why HIIT is so good, let’s quickly talk about what it is exactly. The idea of high intensity interval training is to shock your body, get your heart rate up and burn as much fat as possible. You do this by pushing yourself hard for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds then repeat. It is as simple as that. You can of course change the duration of your rest and work out times but you must rest between sets; this is important and, let’s face it, the best part! You may be thinking that with all those rest periods it sounds really easy, well think again. A few minutes into a HIIT workout you will be sweating like you have never before. From your head to toe you will be soaked, but don’t worry, that’s normal!

1.   Anybody can do it

One of the great things about HIIT is that it is suitable for any type of person; whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced athlete you can benefit from it. Routines really vary and finding one that suits your needs is easy. However, if you are new to exercising then make sure you don’t exhaust yourself the first time. Ease yourself in with the beginner workouts and remember that these will still give you incredible results and improve your stamina and strength.     


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2.   Shorter the better

Finding time to fit in a workout between work and seeing family and friends can be hard. Let’s face it, the majority of us would rather spend an hour at home relaxing rather than sweating over a treadmill. The solution for this problem is the always short but always hard HIIT. Your routine should only take between 20-30 minutes. Finding 20 minutes in the day for exercise doesn’t sound so daunting does it? Making the change to HIIT means you have more time to spend on whatever you want and with whoever you want. After all you can never have enough ‘me’ time.

 3.   The boring Science part

This all sounds great on paper but does it really work? We can happily say that it does! HIIT really does burn more fat than steady cardio. One of the first studies was done at Laval University in Quebec. The scientists compared the results of one group who followed a 15-week HIIT programme to another group who followed a 20-week steady-state programme. They found that the people in the HIIT routine lost significantly more fat than the others. This test has since been repeated many times with the same outcome; fat loss is always higher in the HIIT programme. The reason for this is because HIIT is much tougher on the body; therefore, the body needs more calories to repair itself. Without getting too technical, research shows that as exercise intensity increases, so does the reliance upon muscle glycogen for energy over fat stores. This enables you to burn more fat. It also increases your VO2 capacity which put simply is the amount of oxygen your body uses during exercise. The more it can use the fitter you are, so increasing this as much as possible is hugely important.


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4.   Freedom

Whether you decide to sprint on the treadmill, push yourself on the bike or mix it up with weights you can achieve a great HIIT workout on basically any type of fitness equipment. Having the freedom of choosing what you want to use can be the key to really enjoying your workout. Doing the same thing over and over again gets boring and sucks the fun out of it. Mixing it up is not only refreshing but actually has a positive effect on your body. Many studies have shown that changing what you do as much as possible ‘shocks the body’ and contributes to greater results. Basically your body can actually get used to certain exercises meaning your results can slow down, but you can combat this with HIIT.

 5.   Feel the burn

One of the most impressive things that HIIT can do is put your body into something called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). More commonly known as the ‘afterburn’, this simply means that after you have finished your workout, your body keeps on burning calories at a higher and faster rate. After an intense workout your body is in an oxygen debt and needs to restore itself by increasing the oxygen consumption. To do this, as well as restoring a hormone balance, your body needs energy which it finds in your stored fat. The breakdown of fat releases fatty acids into your blood stream, which are then carried to your cells where they provide needed energy to restore what’s lost. So basically just think of HIIT as a fire that keeps burning once lit. 


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6.   Strength training

We have mentioned how HIIT is a fantastic way of burning fat, but what we haven’t talked about is how it can tone up and increase your strength. When losing weight, your body will of course look more toned as your muscles are more visible. However, to build on this you would need to do strength and condition training. This is the stage where you may want to change from cardio machines and start to implement weight and resistance training into your routine. Keeping the same HIIT principles but doing a routine with weights will allow you to increase your strength and tone up your whole body. By combining all these methods, you are able to lose fat, gain strength and actually increase muscle.

7.   Getting the gains

Nothing beats seeing physical results in the mirror. When all that hard work starts to pay off you realise it’s all worth it in the end. As we all know how amazing that feeling is we can be a little impatient when waiting for it. Well, the good news is that when doing HIIT you are more likely to see results quicker than other types of workouts. Some people have even seen differences in two weeks but more commonly it will take a month or two, which of course is still incredibly fast. Let us not forget these changes are long-term changes and aren’t going to disappear in a few days if you don’t exercise.

 8.   Who else is doing it?

If you are looking to others for inspiration, as we all do from time to time, then you will see many famous names expressing their love for HIIT. People from celebrity trainer Joe Wicks and Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton to NBA All Star Kobe Bryant are all championing this type of exercise. All three of these people rely on staying fit for their careers, so seeing that they all use HIIT to stay in shape shows how you effective it is. 


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9.   Put down the salad

Let’s face it, nobody likes dieting. In a perfect world we could eat chocolate and pizza everyday and stay in perfect shape, but sadly this just isn’t the case. HIIT isn’t a means to eat everything you want, diet is still extremely important. However, what is great about this type of exercise is that, because it is so intense and puts your body into fuel burning mode, you are able to eat a little more after workouts. After your 20-30 minute session, your body is in desperate need of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. In order to get all these, you can actually put the salad down and pick up a turkey bagel or chicken burrito, which is maybe a little more appetising. You need to fuel your body to repair your muscles, so ensure you are getting these 3 key things in your meals. Don’t just eat salads all day as this will actually have a negative effect on your results.

10.   Keeping it up

HIIT is a sustainable way of improving your health and fitness. We all bounce from different workout routines now and again because it’s difficult to stay with the same training plan for too long. However, with high intensity interval training you can keep it up. Knowing you only have to do 20-30 minutes each time means you don’t get bored and can still enjoy your workouts, which after all is the most important thing!  

So, if after reading this you are thinking of beginning a HIIT routine but not sure where to start then don't worry, we are here to help. Below, you will find a simple routine which is perfect for anybody new to HIIT. Enjoy and please feel free to let us know how it goes!