We all know summer bodies are made in Winter, but what is the best way to make that happen? The good news is you don’t need to be spending hours in the gym, 30-45mins of the right type of training is not only as effective, but more beneficial than a long workout for burning fat fast.
With Winter just around the corner, it’s a great time to look closer at the benefits of HIIT.
High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT” as its commonly known has been repeatedly proven to outperform long slow cardio for burning calories and building lean muscle. But what is it and how does it work? We break it down and explain below.
What is it?
HIIT involves short intense intervals of “work” usually (40-45secs) that is designed to spike your heart rate, mixed with even shorter periods of “rest” (15secs) where the aim is to bring your heart rate down as low as possible.
How does it work?
It’s important that both extremes work together for HIIT to work effectively. The “work” phase of HIIT needs to elevate your heart rate to approximately 80% of your max. The best way to do this in a short period of time is to choose an exercise that combines both strength and cardio elements and also one that is compound – meaning it uses multiple muscles at once. We also need to be very mindful of our breathing during the “rest” phase to try and lower the heart rate back down again.
What are the benefits?
Our bodies are in a constant state of survival mode meaning that it is always looking for the most efficient way to move to conserve energy. This is great if you’re very stuck in the desert, but not when you are looking to burn calories and gain strength.
In general, this means that our bodies will adapt to things like long slow cardio very quickly because of its repetitive nature, therefore our brains catch on to what we are doing and find a way to go into a “steady state” and start saving energy.
A simple way to think of this is that we need to trick our bodies into not being able to find a steady heart rhythm to increase your calorie burn. This lack of “steady state” also means that our body continues to work even after your session is complete.
Can I still HIIT if I’m not that fit?
Of course you can!! The beauty of HIIT is that it’s 80% of YOUR max. So regardless of whether you complete 5 or 50 reps in an interval, as long as you’re working in the right zone you’ll still get results.
HIIT and Miss
Remember that HIIT only works when you push yourself to reach those spikes. If you cruise through a Qmax class or fly under the radar by keeping energy in the bank, you are not going to be in the right zone and essentially doing traditional cardio training. It’s always best to follow a well-designed program or class and have an instructor that is going to monitor both your work and rest intervals and get you the results you’re chasing. If you want to really ensure you are keeping track of your workout, try wearing a heart rate monitor as this will accurately analyse your hear rate and might also be a good motivation tool.
If you’re trying HIIT for the first time your body will have a great response with fat loss and lean muscle gain. Be sure to speak to one our highly skilled Omax instructors before starting your class to ensure you have a safe and effective start.
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