Today I want to talk about a popular form of training called HIIT, which stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years about whether HIIT is better at stripping body fat than longer periods of moderate intensity cardio. Depending on which study you read you can end up with very conflicting opinions (my research suggests that both forms were equally supported by peer reviewed studies).
My personal opinion is that both forms of cardio can be very beneficial to you but I do think HIIT is something that should definitely be included in your regular exercise plan, if you want to get fitter and lose body fat. HIIT will boost your metabolism and increase your fitness level quickly.
A typical HIIT session is a period of high intensity training for a period of anywhere between 20-30 minutes, where you are really getting your heart rate up and then recovering in intervals. The great thing about this is that it can be almost any type of cardio you want, for example skipping, sprinting, cycling (stationary and road) or even boxing.
Another thing I love about a good HIIT session is that you don’t have to go to the gym and you get it done and reap the benefits in a short amount of time. I use some local stairs (3 levels, 54 steps in total X 10 sets) for some HIIT sessions but have also used telegraph poles as well, sprinting between each pole, then walking to the next then sprinting again and so on (you might get 20-30 sprints in this workout). There are no ‘I ran out of time’ excuses with HIIT as it can be done right outside your front door.
HIIT training can also be good if you are currently building your fitness levels, most people would prefer to engage in a series of sprints for 20 minutes than to run continuously for 45!
I am not suggesting you drop your walking or daily jog, but remember your body will get used the same type of exercises after a while (and it therefore will be less beneficial) so a good HIIT session once or twice a week can be a great idea to mix it up and keep your body guessing.
My preference would be to try and get your HIIT session done early in the morning and before breakfast if you can this will lead to an increase in fat burn and will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day (which means you will burn more fat at rest). Getting your sessions done early also means you go about your day with a clear mind knowing your exercise is done for the day.
Give HIIT a go, it will be challenging and it might hurt a bit when you are sprinting between poles or running up the stairs, but remember if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you!