Why HIIT? Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

Friday, August 30, 2013

HIIT workouts allow you to keep muscle so you can look more like Lady Gaga (yes please) and not twiggy and ano like Miley (no thank you). Sidenote: Lady Gaga's body is my new fitspiration.. Double sidenote: can we discuss how much her body changes?? Who is her trainer and how do I get in touch?

My most common excuse for not working out is that I'm too busy, especially in the summer (so many rooftop happy hours, so little time!). But now that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has stepped into the spotlight, even university research studies are telling me that "too little time" isn't a valid excuse. Doing HIIT for 15-20 minutes three times each week yields better cardiovascular and muscle-building results than 60 minutes of jogging each day. Clearly this sounds too good to be true so I did some deep digging and here's what I found (most of this info came from Shape Magazine, Men's Health, and a research study from American College of Sports Medicine):
  • While this is 15-20 minutes of hell, after 2 weeks of consistent (3xweek) HIIT workouts, a study by American College of Sports and Medicine says your aerobic capacity will see the same improvement as 8 weeks of endurance training (!!!). Another study I read showed the same aerobic results for subjects after 60 minutes of HIIT each week vs. 160 minutes of treadmill workouts each week. Suddenly 15 minutes doesn't seem so bad...
  • You are supposed to feel like you are dying a slow death by suffocation. This lack of oxygen is essentially putting your body in "oxygen debt" and your body stays burning cals for 24 hours (YES 24 HOURS) afterwards trying to "repay" this "debt", i.e. speeding up our metabolism. Sidenote: This reminds me of when I was in middle school and my fiends and I decided that fat and calories must not count after you work out so I would come home from a run and binge eat Gushers and Dunkaroos because it "didn't count". I was real dumb back then which is probably why I research everything in depth now before I do it.
  • HIIT increases your HGH release by 450%, meaning those 15 minutes a day are slowing the aging process (yeah y'all)
  • HIIT makes your metabolism adapt in a way that uses fat as fuel. Fat. As. Fuel. I'd like to go ahead and sacrifice my saddlebags for fuel...
  • Oh yeah, and it's 100% free. You don't need a gym, equipment, or space to do HIIT .I do it in the tiny space between my bed and wall.
Here is what HIIT looks like: 1 minute of torture (squat jumps, high knees, burpees, etc) in which you are working so hard you shouldn't be able to talk (my favorite class instructor at the Y used to say 'if you can sing right now you're not working hard enough!') followed by 1 minute of rest. This minute of rest is important! When I first started I was like "I'm hard core I don't need rest!" but the rest is important- it's allowing your body to replenish the anaerobic part and then shocking your body when you start up again. Then another minute of torture, another minute of rest and so on.

Fitness Blender has great free Youtube videos. I recommend switching up the videos because when I know what to expect (please no, not the burpees please no) I have a hard time staying motivated. Here are a few of my favs:

For beginners

More advanced:

Check out Fitness Blender's youtube channel for more workouts

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