Fifteen minutes to a Fit Body
The science is in, and it’s conclusive: There is a fast and effective way to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass, and it can even be fun. But it’s not always easy. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training (commonly referred to as HIIT), and it involves giving your maximum effort for short, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. Try a HIIT workout to get these five awesome benefits:
- It’s Fast
A common misconception about exercise is that you have to do it for a long time each day to achieve results. The HIIT model proves otherwise. Studies have demonstrated that only 15 minutes of HIIT training can yield the same cardiovascular benefits as one hour of jogging on the treadmill, proving that HIIT workouts can burn more calories in less time than traditional steady-state cardio sessions.
- It’s Fun
A Scandinavian sports medicine journal found that people who incorporated interval training into their workouts were more likely to stick to their exercise programs and experience the benefits of consistent exercise, including weight loss, than those who were only running.
This is because HIIT workouts are fast and unique. You can do a different HIIT workout each time, keeping it interesting and fun. You can make up your own, or find dozens of different HIIT workouts online. You can develop your own HIIT routine made up of the exercises you enjoy the most.
- It Burns More Fat
Multiple studies have demonstrated that HIIT workouts burn more fat than traditional steady-state cardio workouts, even when the steady-state cardio lasts longer than then the HIIT.
There are two reasons for this:
The first is that during the workout, your body recovers from high-intensity bursts of exercise while the body is still under stress. That means that a burst of running is not followed by stopping to catch your breath, but by jogging or walking. That active recovery is a major calorie burner.
Second, your body has to work harder on muscle repair after your workout because of the intensity of the HIIT. This burns more calories for a longer period of time even when your workout is over.
- It Maintains Muscle Mass
Muscle mass depletion occurs during aerobic workouts (like steady-state running or cycling), but because of it’s intensity, HIIT workouts are anaerobic, meaning that your body doesn’t turn to your muscles for fuel, relying instead on stored fat and available carbohydrates. In order for muscle mass to be maintained, your HIIT workout should be done close to your maximum effort. It’s hard, but it’s worth it!
- It’s Free
Because a HIIT workout can be done without any equipment or special instruction, you don’t need to join a gym to do it. Do it in your basement, your backyard, or a public park. Hit the road to do running/jogging intervals. Go to the park and use the benches for step-ups. Pick your five favourite exercises and do them at home. The possibilities are endless – all you need is some motivation and your imagination.
Sample HIIT Workouts
Run for 20 seconds / Jog or walk for 1 min
Repeat 10-15 times
40 jumping jacks
Repeat this circuit 5 times
Round 1 (30 seconds each exercise):
Round 2 (30 seconds each exercise):
- Front Kicks
- Jumping Jacks
Repeat each round 2 times.