The health and fitness industry is massive and is always growing, which can only be a good thing. However, it can be very guilty of devising FADS, with people changing their minds in an instant and jumping on band wagons, whilst preaching about something they may know very little about. Just think of the classic ‘Six Minute Abs’. However, something of which has become very popular over the last few years is HIIT training. HIIT training stands for high intensity interval training and has been shown to help produce positive body composition changes through its ability to help fat burning (just check out Instagram and twitter for the evidence). But, what actually is it? Does it work? But most importantly is, will it work for you?
What is HIIT?
Imagine the perfect workout. You would:
– Burn tons of calories in a short space of time – 30 minutes or less
– Build muscle for a sculpted physique
– Improve your stamina for short bursts and long bouts of exercise.
– Build bone and keep you safe from fracture or injury.
– Leave you feeling like a champion at the end.
Well, what if I say this could be done, and when you were done your body would continue to burn extra calories for an extra day or two afterwards?
Well then I think HIIT training is your answer because HIIT training is an alternative to traditional steady state cardio exercise like running, swimming or cycling (which can be very boring), but also can provides the added benefit of resistance training due to the intensity performed and often resistance used. The aim is to perform short, intense bouts of exercise interspersed with short periods of rest.
This style produces great changes in body shape because it causes great hormonal adaptations, which means, during your workout, your body starts to burn fat at a much greater rate due to the increased production of growth hormone which is our body’s major fat burning hormone. Furthermore, this process remains at a heightened level for 24-72 hours post-workout, meaning that you will be burning fat at an accelerated rate for the next few days afterwards. So essentially you could be burning extra calories even whilst sitting at your office the next day, thanks to your HIIT workout. Keep this consistent, then you will be seeing that tummy become flatter and toned in no time.
The great thing as well is that it can also be different every time by mixing up the weights you use, the reps and set you do and rest periods. As a result, you will have much less chance for your mind to wander like it might do pounding a treadmill for hours on end, and you might even have fun working out. I love a good HIIT workout and so I am going to share some of my personal favourite sessions:
1. Hill sprints – The hill should be a of gradient that allows you to run flat out while adding enough resistance to challenge you and keep good running form and sprint mechanics. Try a 20m sprint up the hill with a slow walk down, attempt this 5 times and see how you go.
2. Battling ropes – Most decent gyms these days have a good set of ropes and if you don’t then you need to change gyms. I like the ropes as they are a great work to give the upper body a good workout. My go to is 20 sets of 30 second bursts of max effort with 30 secs rest. I like to mix up the rhythm work or rope slams, remember it needs to be maximal work.
3. Bike spinner – Everyone seems to like spinning sessions but these sessions can often go on far to long. Simply get a on a static spinning bike find a gear which is about 6/10 intensity and go for about 65% max effort for 45 seconds then increase gear to 9/10 intensity and go all out sprint for 15 seconds then use the next 45 seconds back down to 65% as active recovery. Perform 10-20 sets dependant on fitness level and that’s a good quality session completed in around 20 minutes dependant on sets.