High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, is a type of cardio workout which alternates short bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with brief recovery periods until total exhaustion. You might recognize HIIT workouts from gyms like Orangetheory or CrossFit.
Science has examined interval training as an efficient way of inducing remarkable physiological adaptations with less time commitment than traditional endurance training, producing benefits such as healthier hearts, stronger muscles and greater energy! With intermittent training comes an impressive array of physiological adaptations that lead to significant physiological advantages – benefits such as healthier hearts, stronger muscles and greater energy!
1. Improved Heart Health
HIIT workouts help improve cardiorespiratory fitness. This means that your heart and lungs can better deliver oxygen to your muscles for prolonged work periods, giving them more endurance to do work harder for longer.
To calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR), subtract your age from 220: 220 – (age) = your MHR. Knowing this number will allow you to gauge how far you can push yourself during an interval training exercise session (HIIT).
HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of higher-intensity exercise interspersed with rest or lower intensity activity to force your body to adapt to two very distinct states. According to exercise physiologist and personal trainer Franci Cohen, this helps increase efficiency of energy systems allowing training at higher intensities for shorter duration. A study found that participants completing HIIT saw greater increases in their VO2 max more quickly than participants completing continuous training groups.
2. Increased Energy Levels
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a type of exercise characterized by short bursts of intense activity (defined by >90% maximum oxygen uptake, or 75% of maximal power) interspersed with periods of rest or low intensity exercise, followed by rest or lower intensity exercises. Studies have demonstrated that this form of training induces similar physiological adaptations as moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) but with significantly reduced total volume exercise.
Consistent anaerobic HIIT exercise leads to increased glycogen stores in your body, providing energy sources for future bouts of high-intensity exercise or recovery. Furthermore, this increase also aids the body’s post-workout calorie burn–known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.
As the demanding nature of HIIT may expose you to overtraining or burnout, be sure to incorporate active recovery days between HIIT sessions as part of your regimen for maximum effectiveness and prevention. Read our blog post “Overtraining and Burnout: Prevent It!” for more details on this subject.
3. Stronger Muscles
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has proved itself as a popular fitness trend over time. Although HIIT may resemble sprint training and distance running in its appearance, its basic principle remains straightforward: You alternate short bursts of intense exercise with shorter recovery periods for an effective workout regimen.
As their name suggests, these workouts combine cardio with strength training to strengthen and tone your body while burning calories and toning muscle. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts offer variety and increase intensity during regular exercise routines; however they should only be performed 1-2 sessions each week for best results and to avoid overtraining or injury.
No matter if you use HIIT at home or studios like Orangetheory, these workouts promise a faster way to improve your physique in less time. But is there proof they work? According to research, HIIT not only builds muscle while burning fat quickly, but it can also enhance heart health and increase energy levels significantly.
4. Better Sleep
Sleep is essential to overall health, but exercise may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. While running or biking are great exercises for the heart, new research indicates that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could even provide greater results when it comes to helping achieve restful slumber.
Charles Sturt University researchers in Australia conducted one study where 11 middle-aged men were either assigned to perform high intensity interval training (HIIT) in the morning, or aerobic control training (ACC) sessions in the evening – lasting 30 minutes each, including six one minute cycling sprints at 100 percent of VO2 peak followed by four minute periods of low intensity exercise for recovery.
Study participants had their actual sleep time, latency to fall asleep and immobility time monitored after both ACC and HIIT sessions. Results demonstrated that HIIT was more effective at improving objective outcomes while subjective sleep measures only saw minimal changes.