HIIT: The Calorie-Burning Routine You Can Do Anywhere

HIIT: The Calorie-Burning Routine You Can Do Anywhere

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is rising in popularity amongst the masses at supersonic speeds. Besides body weight training, HIIT is the top fitness trend of 2014. This upbeat, fast-paced method requires dedication, commitment, stamina, and endurance, but the results are well worth the effort.

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Image: woman running via Shutterstock

How Is It Done?

With HIIT, you alternate between high intensity exercise and less intense exercises in the same workout.  Your intensity would look like hills going up and down if it was mapped out on paper.

Your mix of exercises might look like this: (For example, you could alternate and do a high intensity move for 30 seconds then a medium intensity move for 30 seconds.)

High Intensity

  • Sprinting
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Lunges/Squats
  • High Knees
  • Jumping Jacks

Medium Intensity

  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Lifting Weights
  • Walking
  • Pushups
  • Crunches

Strategically planned, high intensity intervals are balanced with short, less active recovery periods. These spurts of energy encourage your heart rate to stay up while burning calories at record speeds.

For some people who love this form of exercise, HIIT has all but eliminated traditional forms of cardio because, in half the amount of time spent in the average 30-minute or 1-hour session, HIIT can burn more fat and calories while increasing your aerobic and anaerobic stamina. HIIT have been can help speed up your metabolism and has been scientifically proven to burn adipose tissue at least 50% more effectively than low-intensity cardio training.

Examples of HIIT

There is no specific form of exercise that is directly associated with HIIT. Anything that can be balanced between giving it all you've got and taking it down a notch, is HIIT. For example, if you like to go running to stay in shape, do it with all your might for one minute, then power walk for two. Keep repeating the three minute cycle for 15 minutes -- that's HIIT.

Be sure to go through a good stretch and warm-up before getting started. You want to get your heart nice and ready for the high intensity activity rather than instantly shocking it into action. Giving it all you've got will increase your body's need for oxygen and, as a result, it's hungry for more in those recovery intervals. This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. It opens the door for those calories and that fat to fall off more quickly than normal aerobic exercises.

The Benefits of HIIT

Let's start with how it works on the metabolism. As I mentioned earlier, the balance of high and low intensity interval training creates EPOC, stimulating a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a HIIT workout session. It's one of the only forms of exercise that continues to work for you long after you stop working.

It Works

The fact that it can literally be done anywhere… by anyone…with any style of cardio, makes HIIT a very convenient form of training. This is an added bonus for people who don't have the time or money to go to the gym. Your living room, backyard, even a locked office can all be the prime location for an excellent workout.

Studies show that just 30 minutes of high intensity interval training done three times a week can yield more results than an agonizing hour-long run on the treadmill. Keep it up for two weeks and you'll advance your aerobic capacity better than you would've with 6 to 8 weeks of conventional endurance. These benefits almost sound too good to be true. Part of the effectiveness behind a HIIT workout comes from your strengthened metabolism.

No Accessories Needed

You don't have to invest in weights and expensive machinery.  For most HIIT sessions, all you need is your own body. The primary focus is speeding up your heart, and keeping it active. You don't need dumbbells to do that, but you can add wrist weight or dumbbells with moves as appropriate. It's up to you. If running isn't your forte, you can easily customize your HIIT routine to fit your strengths. 

When deciding what to do, target the areas you'd like to improve. Push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, dips, jumps, and burpees can all be included in a high interval routine. If you're creating your own regimen, be sure to rest for 30 seconds between each high-impact/low-impact interval. You can build muscle, and retain the muscles you already have without ever setting foot in the gym.  There are tons of great HIIT videos on YouTube and lots of routines posted to Pinterest.

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