What is ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ anyway?

If you are new to the fitness world, or don’t really know exactly how to train for effective results, this post is for you. 

I’m sure you have come across the 7, 10 or 20 min workout. Also referred to as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It seems like every time I look through my social media feeds (thank you Facebook for tracking my every move), I find another new HIIT app with a different way to get fit in the shortest amount of time.

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HIIT training pushes you to your absolute limit for short time periods, with one bout of rest and then repeats this activity for a certain number of sets based on time: i.e. 20 sec intense, 40 sec rest & repeat (times vary). 

This means that your heart rate will go from extremely high (oh my gosh I’m going to throw up) to normal (thank the lord) and repeat..

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Well the big question is whether these short exercise routines actually work, or if your workouts should be longer so as to get the real benefits?

According to research studies conducted on HIIT, the benefits of this type of training have proven to be effective in muscle gain, improved VO2 max (oxygen consumed), lowering blood glucose levels and generally improving overall health.

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In addition, studies have also shown that this type of exercise works better on those with sedentary lifestyles, with body changes and improvements noted in as short as two weeks.

BUT, this type of training is incredibly intense, requiring you to push your body to its ultimate limit – something that could create an intense feeling of ‘workout dread,’ a general dislike and negative feeling towards exercise.

This can result in a loss of motivation and enjoyment for exercise, whereby the association of pain and discomfort will become linked to training – making the idea of exercising even more of a nightmare!

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So if you are just starting out, or you have been training for a while and haven’t seen the improvements you had hoped for, it may be a good idea to include HIIT into your training regime.

– however you need to consider switching up training days to include other activities, like for example; swimming, Yoga, Pilates, hiking, jogging, rock climbing, or any other sports /activities you may enjoy.

Changing up your training routine to include a variety of activities, will make exercise fun, ensuring that you stick to reaching your goals without becoming bored and ultimately giving up.

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What does your training week look like? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay fit, stay motivated !
xxx

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