‘Time is an illusion’ said Einstein. (‘Lunchtime doubly so’ said Douglas Adams). Real or not, most of us find that time presses. When it does, sometimes exercise gets squeezed out.
High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT) has become very popular for this reason. It allows you to fit a lot of exercise into a very short time. But can it really cut your exercise time down to one-fifth? The answer looks to be ‘yes’.
The theory is that the hundred and one percent effort blasts in a high intensity workout creates a big demand for oxygen from the muscles. This pushes up the heart rate to supply that oxygen.
This increased oxygen demand not only burns more calories during the workout, but also uses more when you finish exercising.
Is this too good to be true? There really is proof, albeit on a small scale.
A study of a group of 27 previously sedentary men showed that short fast workouts do the trick. The participants worked out over a three month period, and their health and fitness were measured. Those doing high intensity short bursts improved just as much as those doing the longer moderate workouts.
A short tough workout also fits well with a busy lifestyle. There is no time to get bored. There is time to get showered and grab lunch before returning to your desk.
If you want to try this approach, look to swapping your workouts. For example, instead of an hour’s run switch to a high-intensity cycling workout. Vary that running route to add a steep hill or a flight of stairs, and then repeat that section.
The workout may be short, but never skimp on the warm up phase. Cold muscles won’t stand the strain of super-intense exercise.
The idea of high-intensity training is to push yourself, but don’t overdo the burn. You want gain, not strains and sprains.
It may not be the time in the workout, but the workout in the time. Turn up the intensity and see what happens!
short and effective - what's not to like about a HIIT workout? It is a killer while you are doing it but it does get results. Agree - not to be leapt straight into.
HIIT has its benefits for sure. I think you need a certain level of fitness first though if you want to push yourself hard, if you are a beginner you need to build up to this intense activity