What Exactly Is HIIT?
Asking for a friend....
If you’ve ever had any sort of interest in working out then you’re bound to have heard of HIIT. Actually if you’ve ever followed any sort of fitness Instagrammer then you’ve heard the moniker. But is it for you?
And since, like us, you might have that overwhelming new gym class fear, when you’re paralysed at the thought of going to something where everyone is amazing and you stand around having no clue, then fear not. We’re breaking down the entire thang right here...
But first check out the Geordie cast revealing their secret gym snack hacks...
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which tbh doesn’t really make things clearer. But it’s basically tough but short bursts of exercises like sprints or burpees that get your heart rate up.
If you’ve panicked at the word ‘burpee’, EVERYTHING IS OKAY. The beauty of HIIT is that it’s all over quickly.
Why it works...
It was hailed as the opposite of those long sessions of cardio that everyone feared. But here is some scientific speak from Eric Salvador, head instructor at the Fitting Room in New York: “A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.”
In regular person speak, keeping your heart rate in a state of fluctuation makes your body need a lot of oxygen in your recovery time. This is often more challenging than if you keep your heart rate at a steady pace.
It also keeps your body in a high metabolic state, basically meaning that your metabolism can be sped up for hours after you’ve left the gym. WIN.
What kind of exercises?
The super handy thing about HIIT is that while there are a ton of exercises you can do with equipment, you can also do it at home or in the park, with no weights needed. Aka FREE.
These kind of activities include: jump squats, mountain climbers, jump lunges, burpees and sprints. While at the gym you can incorporate box jumps, rowing and more.
Is it for beginners?
YES. It might be called High Intensity, but that doesn’t mean that only pros can do it. The level of HIIT can change to suit your fitness and it’s easy to increase it the fitter you get.
Who does it?
Celebs like Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Shay Mitchell are obsessed with HIIT. Demi has raved about how interval training has totally changed her mindset and her body.
Where can I do it?
You can do it anywhere. There are a ton of good workouts on YouTube and online plus every gym worth its salt will have classes. But if you’re more of a shy try-in-your-bedroom-type then check out this workout as a taster!
Mistakes to watch out for...
Watch out for skipping your warm-up and not letting your body rest. The whole point of HIIT is that you heart rate comes down to a normal level in between exercise, so don’t push yourself to recover faster than your heart needs. Don’t miss the warm-up because it is hard on your body so you can’t go in cold.
The other mistake people make is not going as hard as they can. Yeah, you get to rest but on the flip-side you have to be pushing yourself at least an eight of out ten. If you’re finding it easy then great, but you won't always get the best out of the session.
Now take a look at our beginner's guide to the gym and lose some of that fear...