It’s pitched as a fitness game changer that will send your heart rate sky high and rocket your fitness to another level. Of course, it’s no walk in the park, so are you up for the challenge?
With short but intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of recovery, the concept is to go as hard as you can for a short period, rest, then repeat. You can’t look past high-intensity interval training, (HIIT) if you’re serious about transforming your fitness.
This proven training method, in particular the use of the recoveries, allows you to keep reaching your maximum training zone, again and again, every workout.
According to research, just 20 minutes of HIIT leaves you burning fat for hours after the workout. It results in 9 per cent more fat loss and is 17 per cent more effective than steady state training.
So what’s not to love?
The thing is, HIIT is intense! To determine whether you should make HIIT part of your weekly exercise regime, you need to know where you are in your fitness journey.
You’re entirely new to fitness
If this is you, we recommend 6-12 weeks of consistent moderate intensity exercise including strength, cardio and core/flexibility training each week before jumping into HIIT. Remember, frequency is more important than intensity, when you’re just starting, so take it slow and work on forming habits that will stick.
You’ve been training for a while
Once you have a base level of fitness the key to results is in adding intensity, not volume. This is the perfect time to introduce HIIT to your existing training schedule. Try replacing an hour a week of your regular routine with 1-2 HIIT sessions, and watch your results soar.
You’re an experienced exerciser or athlete
The great thing is that HIIT pushes you to hit your maximum training zones every workout. Even if you are super fit, HIIT will still give your fitness a severe edge.
How to find the sweet spot
It’s easy to get hooked on this style of training thanks to the endorphin rush that goes hand-in-hand with HIIT. But you shouldn’t go overboard. According to research, too much HIIT can do more harm than good. Optimal results come when you limit the time you spend with your heart rate above 90 per cent maximum to 30-40 minutes per week.