With everything else going on in our lives, working out often ends up low on the priority list. Between family, work, friends and house work, it can seem next to impossible to fit anything else into the schedule. On top of the time factor, gyms are intimidating, trainers are expensive, and you’re already tired.
Fortunately for the time-pressed, High Intensity Interval Training, also know as HIIT, exists! These extremely effective workouts can take as little as 15 minutes—easy to fit into your lunch break, before the kids get up, or at the end of your day.
HIIT workouts combine intense, short bursts of activity and fixed periods of low-intensity activity. Here are some of the amazing benefits of this type of exercise:
One of the greatest benefits of this type of workout is that you will see more progress working out for 15 minutes than you would going on a treadmill for an hour, research says. A study presented by American College of Sports Medicine demonstrated that 2 weeks of high-intensity interval training can improve your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training would.
HIIT forces you to push into the anaerobic zone. The anaerobic zone is when your heart is working between 80-88% of the heart rate reserve. Training in this zone is hard, but will increase your performance. While you might feel like you can’t breathe and that your heart is thumping outside of your chest, you will see results. Your cardiovascular health will improve drastically according to Montreal heart health experts.
You’ll burn more calories, and your intense workout will kick your body’s repair cycle into high gear, resulting in fat burning. You will continue to burn fat and calories for 24 hours after a HIIT workout, too.
Most gym junkies fear cardio due to the possibility of losing the blessed muscle gains rather than fat stores. Steady state cardio, such as long distance running, can lead to muscle catabolism. This can last for up to 7 days after the endurance activity. However, studies show that weight training alongside HIIT workouts will allow you to preserve muscles and lose the fat that is covering them up.
HIIT workouts stimulate your metabolism. After HIIT, your basal metabolic rate will be raised for 24 hours. This mean you will have a higher caloric burn at rest. Another benefit of these workouts is you release more Human Growth Hormone, slowing down the aging process, inside and out!
The best part about these workouts is they are free. No expensive gym memberships or personal trainers needed. In fact, you won’t even need any equipment. There are so many YouTubers who create these videos for free, so there are no more excuses. Another great thing? You can do a HIIT workout almost anywhere, as long as there is enough space to do a burpee.
Another good aspect about HIIT workouts is they are adaptable to your level of fitness. If you’re just starting out or have been hitting the gym for years, you can change the length, movements or even add in weights if you feel a HIIT set is getting to easy.
For beginners, we have a HIIT workout that is simple, and doesn’t require anything apart from motivation and a little space to move.
45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest, 1 minute between rounds, 3 rounds
Step 1. Push Ups or Knee Push-Ups (for 45 seconds)
Rest: for 15 seconds
Step 2. High Knees (for 45 seconds)
Rest: for 15 seconds
Step 3. Squats (for 45 seconds)
Rest: for 15 seconds
Step 4. Burpees (for 45 seconds)
Rest: for 1 minute then REPEAT two more times (for total of three rounds)
During the 45 seconds of work on each step, it is important to go as hard as possible. This workout is only 15 minutes, so if you want to get the most out of it, push yourself, but don’t hurt yourself. During your rest time, you can either walk in place, or simply be at complete rest. Remember to do a light warm up (try running in place for 1 minute) and always stretch before and after your workout.
You should only do HIIT workouts three times a week, or every other day at a maximum. As the name suggests, this type of exercise pushes your body to its limits, so you need to allow time to recover. During recovery, make sure you are eating at least 1200 calories a day to allow a full, healthy recovery. Eating any less than this can damage your metabolism and send your body into starvation mode.
Many people use other family members as an excuse for holding them back, instead, be the one to set the example. When your family members start seeing the progress, it might even get your couch potato teen involved. Working out regularly will give you more energy to spend on other tasks. While being too tired is often an excuse for not working out, one of the reasons you could be tired is because you’re not exercising enough. Regular exercise can help you sleep better, reduce stress levels, make you feel more energized and increase your overall wellbeing.
Pro-tip for the time-short and over-scheduled – exercise first thing in the morning. It will make you feel accomplished, you’ll have the rest of the for all your other priorities and even feel more focused throughout the day. As they say, rise and grind!