The Workout We Can All Do: HIIT

michael morelli
by Michael Morelli

For many people, one thing that tends to stand in the way of maintaining their own health and fitness is that lack of time and the perception that to stay fit, you have to put in a lot of time and effort at the gym. Most of us don’t have several hours a week to dedicate to going to the gym. You might have a demanding job, lots of community commitments or a busy family to take care of.

Fortunately, we don’t have to spend all of our extra time at the gym just to stay fit and healthy. For most people, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great workout and takes up much less time. In fact, it can easily be done at home, so you can save the time it takes to get to the gym as well. It can also be modified to fit any level of fitness a person may be at.

How to Do a HIIT Workout

HIIT is a form of cardio, but it is far superior to long form cardio. This type of training combines very short, but very intense, periods of maximum effort—think sprinting, running up a hill, or even pedaling a stationary bike at a super-high resistance with all of your effort. Intersperse these “sprints”—whether they last 15 seconds, 30 seconds or even a minute—with resting periods, where you don’t stop, but take it a bit easier, giving yourself a moment to recover, before getting ready for your next burst.

The great thing about using HIIT is that you only have to spend 15 to 30 minutes on your workout, which can be done at the gym or at home. HIIT can be worked into your schedule, no matter how busy your life is. Getting 15 to 30 minutes of workout time is much easier than trying to get in a 60 to 90 minute workout, not including the travel time it takes to get to the gym and back.

Using HIIT, compared to traditional cardio, is not only shorter, but also continues to burn fat long after you finish your workout, all the while retaining muscle. It actually burns more calories in the long run, as it continues to burn through the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where your body burns energy to repair itself. Studies show that high intensity exercise sessions (done three days a week for six weeks), increases whole-body and skeletal muscle capacities in order to oxidize fat and carbohydrates.

Besides being useful for fat loss and maintaining a healthy weight, HIIT is beneficial in so many different ways, such as improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. It can even improve insulin sensitivity and boosts your metabolism.

With HIIT, you get numerous health benefits without all the gym time. It is the best way to get in a maximum workout with minimum time commitment. The training periods are intense, but they are quick enough to fit into any schedule and can be accommodated to any level of fitness, whether you are a beginner or have been training for years.

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