What is a HIIT workout?
Home workouts will continue to be the norm as some gyms will not re-open for a while due to Covid-19. But just because you aren’t able to take your favorite studio class, it doesn’t mean you can’t recapture that same demanding workout in the comfort of your own home. Thanks to high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, you can still get in a good, quality sweat session.
A HIIT workout is one where you alternate between intervals of all-out intense bursts of exercise, alternated with recovery periods. The intervals can be as short as 30-45 seconds, or last up to a couple of minutes, but HIIT workouts generally aren’t too lengthy overall. Why? Because research shows that these shorter style HIIT workouts actually maximize benefits in less time.
Benefits of HIIT workouts
Some of the benefits include maximal kilojoule burn, fat loss, increased metabolic rate post-workout, as well as overall cardiovascular benefits.
“One of the big benefits of HIIT is the ability to maximise caloric output during a shorter workout,” explains Noam Tamir, trainer and owner of TS Fitness in New York City. “It improves heart health, increases VO2 max, and creates more of a post-exercise oxygen consumption or after-burn effect post-workout helping to burn more calories than moderate-intensity exercise. Depending on an individual’s fitness level, these workouts have also been shown to build strength and increase muscle mass.”
Plus, the short length of these workouts is a benefit in and of itself. “In 20 minutes, you can get the same benefits from a HIIT workout that you would from a 40-minute moderate-intensity workout,” says Tamir.
Equipment and safety precautions
Another great thing about HIIT workouts is that they can be done with or without equipment, so if you’re doing them at home and you don’t have access to weights or bands, that’s OK. Bodyweight works well for HIIT, Tamir says. He does point out that if you’ve never done a HIIT workout before, it’s best to first get the OK from your doctor, to be sure you’re in good health and able to handle the intensity. He also points out that you want to ease into things, beginning with a HIIT home workout that won’t leave you feeling sore for days. “Compound, low impact movements are best to begin with,” says Tamir. As you advance, Tamir suggests that you can add weight, reps, or time.
“Make sure you are hydrated, don’t eat too close to training – maybe stop around 90 to 120 minutes before – and be sure to warm up and cool down,” says Tamir. “During your rest periods in the workout, focus on breathing and shaking out your body to release the tension you build up during the all-out exercise intervals.”