High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a form of workout in which you give all out, 100% effort through fast, intensive bursts of exercise, followed by shorter, sometimes active, recovery periods. Training in this way will get and maintain your heart rate up while burning more fat in less time than a typical workout.
In my functional training classes, they are not all about lifting heavy weights. We like to mix things up by including a bodyweight only HIIT workout in to the schedule at regular intervals. In fact, it’s quite possible to train using only HIIT and your own body weight to become fitter, healthier, leaner and stronger.
HIIT can be a cardio workout, a strength workout and interval training all rolled in to one. Contrary to popular belief it’s possible for a high intensity bodyweight only workout to work your upper body, lower body and core all in the one workout routine.
A gym workout and weight training equipment certainly provide more options for exercising and are a better way to build real strength however if you are simply looking to get healthy, to lose weight or to boost your general health and fitness and tone up a little then bodyweight only HIIT workouts could be a great option for you.
The benefits to High Intensity Interval Training are numerous. The top 6 as I see them are:
1) You can work out from anywhere – home, hotel room etc.
2) You don’t need any equipment and you don’t need to join a gym
3) High intensity cardio workouts are great for your heart. HIIT improves the elasticity and flexibility of veins and arteries more so than regular aerobic exercise
4) Your workout time is reduced with a HIIT workout – 20 to 30 minutes is all you need
5) You’ll burn calories even after your workout is completed. HIIT speeds your metabolic rate which means a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a workout
6) Lose fat, not muscle. Shorter, high intensity sessions result in greater fat loss over time than longer, low intensity sessions.
Does it sound too good to be true? Well you still need to put the work in and only you can do that. Are you self-disciplined and self-motivated enough to push yourself to 100% effort for each workout? Are you prepared to really get your heart rate up and only take the required amount of rest periods? It’s easier said than done but with a little will power it’s amazing what can be achieved.
I recommend a 20 or 30 minute workout three or four times per week depending on your level of fitness in order for you to start seeing and feeling results. You will of course need to combine this with quality and nutritious meal plans as you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Mindset is important too so ensure you are prepared mentally for the challenge and let those close to you know in advance that you’ll be taking time out of your day for these workouts.
Here’s an example of a simple full body workout with only 4 exercises that I use on my 30 Day Program:
Air Squats x 30
Mountain Climbers x 20
Burpees with Press Ups x 10
Shoulder Taps x 20
For this circuit I ask clients to go through each exercise at max effort without pausing and then take a 60 second break once the fourth exercise is complete. Then it’s back in to the first exercise again. The goal is to complete as many circuits as possible in 20 minutes. I have moving images that show the proper form for the above exercises so if you’d like a copy of that then sign up to the mailing list below, ask me for a copy and I’d be happy to send it on to you.
Now get out there and exercise!
Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about wellness so feel free to drop me a line to discuss any of the above. Contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Low Down
Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant specialising in the design, improvement and auditing of wellness initiatives for Irish businesses. He is the founder of Office Worker Health, a platform dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing to the working population.
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