The benefits of HIIT are already well documented – we know you know! It improves cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as burning fat and zapping calories.
There’s nothing wrong with spending lots of time training (if you enjoy it). But most people don’t realise HIIT is a real alternative to slogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Just one minute of intense exercise in a 10 minute routine can boost your stamina. Sounds good to us!
(Very) basically speaking, HIIT optimizes your heart capacity and increases the size and number of your mitochondria - the ‘powerhouses’ of cells. This raises your VO2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising). This means an increase in your performance and ability in stop-start activities such as football, netball and weight lifting.
HIIT enhances both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibres. Whereas longer, slower exercise improves only slow-twitch. Your skeletal muscles are also strengthened, allowing you to push, pull and generally produce more force.
Think of all the systems in your body being like soldiers performing various tasks . Longer exercise will train them all to a healthy, useful level. But short, tough workouts like Tabata will turn them into highly trained units capable of quick response, especially as intensity increases.
So with HIIT you become a more powerful fat-burning machine in far less time than with long aerobic sessions.
No. Although HIIT seems like the ultimate solution, there is one problem.
One of the benefits you get from longer, slower endurance training is an increase in how much blood your heart can pump in a given time (known as ‘Qmax’). This maximizes the amount of blood your muscles can use.
But one recent study suggested that HIIT doesn’t improve Qmax whatsoever.
The solution? If you want to get the most from your endurance training, you should include a combination of both longer, slower training like running and weight training, and HIIT. By exposing your body to a variety of exercises you will also be enhancing mobility, providing mental stimulation and keeping up your motivation.
I love that HIIT could help with endurance, and I can definitely agree that it works. Adding in some stair runs at home (10 up 10 down - fast ) made my runs the next week feel easier.
I'm with Roger. I love the latest trend for HIIT workouts. I can get the workouts done quicker, feel amazing after,and feel real benefits/
short sharp sessions HIIT-style really do the trick for me. I realise there needs to be other types of training, but despite the exhaustion involved doing some really tough stuff is well worth it. Good to know I'm on the right track.