HIIT training has been named by fitness organizations as a growing trend, finally crossing over from a method specifically for athletes or hardcore fitness buffs. This regimen is actually a two-step process. The first being High-intensity training, focusing on effectiveness and achieving maximum outcomes and the second, Interval training, which aims for time efficiency. Together it forms HIIT (High-intensity interval training), which together are known for being an effective fat loss method. It is because of its ability to reduce fat and burn calories in such a short time that made it more popular.
However, it can also be more than just that. This training method is also great for improving your fitness level and your cardiovascular health. Even studies show that when you exercise close to your body’s limits with very brief rest intervals are more effective in improving respiratory and metabolic functions and cardiovascular health than just doing moderate activity without any breaks.
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What are the main principles of HIIT?
There is no one way of doing HIIT training, in fact, there are quite a few popular methods out there. The important thing is that the regimen follows some basic principles. Five things should be considered when developing your program:
1. Exercise duration
Your high-intensity exercise should last between 5 seconds to 2 minutes for women, and up to 3 minutes for men.
The exercise should reach around 80 to 95% of his/her estimated maximum heart rate.
This should, in turn, be at 40 to 50% of maximal heart rate.
4. High Intensity to Recovery Period Ratio
This should be in between 1:1 to 1:3.
Training should be done three to five times a week.
Why does it work and who benefits from this training?
If you are looking to lose weight and reduce your body fat percentage, then this is the perfect training for you. Not only does it help you achieve your ideal weight more quickly than normal, you will also not lose your muscle mass. In fact, it will even enhance it. This sets this apart from aerobic exercises, which are known to be bad in preserving your muscle mass. At the same time, your body becomes conditioned to develop lean muscle mass, leading to faster metabolism.
This is achieved through the quick, intense training that pushes you to your limits and achieves muscle fatigue. This also increases your maximum oxygen uptake. By working close to your VO2 max, or the highest amount of oxygen that your body uses while exercising, you trigger the afterburn effect. This means that up to 48 hours after the workout, your body continues to use oxygen and burn calories.
In short, HIIT is an efficient way of achieving a lot by doing less. As we know, time is a valuable commodity nowadays and this can really be good news for most people. By alternating between short but intense and moderate-to-low movements, you still achieve more than working out for a longer time