HIIT Training

Achieving the same results in less time sounds interesting, doesn’t it? That’s what HIIT training promises. How it works and how you can use it for yourself, you will learn in this article. Have fun reading and implementing it!

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is a training system in which you alternate between phases of high intensity and phases of low to moderate intensity. A HIIT workout is relatively short compared to other forms of training and is mainly used for training goals such as fat loss and increasing fitness.

Advantages of HIIT training

Time-saving

One of the biggest advantages of HIIT training is that you can achieve the same results within a much shorter time as with a longer workout. So if you don’t have a lot of time to workout, this is a great reason to try HIIT training.

Flexible

Since HIIT is not a set prescribed workout, but rather a training system with intensity levels, it is very flexible to implement. Running, cycling, swimming, there’s hardly a sport, exercise or movement you can’t do a HIIT workout with.

Varied

Longer workouts with consistent intensity are not only more time consuming, but can also become boring, especially for advanced athletes. HIIT training is high-intensity and can freshen up your workout routine.

Improves endurance

HIIT training increases stamina, or endurance, as it improves the body’s oxygen consumption. While this is often associated with longer cardio sessions such as jogging, it is possible to achieve the same effect in a shorter but more intense workout session.

Lowers blood sugar and improves insulin resistance

Regular HIIT training can not only lower blood sugar, but also improve insulin resistance. Therefore, it is especially good for people with type 2 diabetes.

Lowers blood pressure and heart rate

HIIT training can lower blood pressure and improve heart rate. This makes it especially appealing to people who are overweight, who tend to have high blood pressure more often.

Fat loss

HIIT training can promote fat loss and help you lose weight. The high energy expenditure burns a lot of calories in a relatively short time without stimulating the appetite as much as longer cardio sessions, such as jogging, do.

Muscle building

If you do HIIT training with bodyweight exercises or additional weights, you can also build muscle. However, it should be said here that it is more effective for people who have not built any to few muscles so far and for the others, a targeted strength training for this goal will give better results.

Disadvantages of HIIT training

Not suitable for beginners

Due to the high intensity, HIIT training is not really suitable for rank beginners, at least not with maximum intensity in the intervals. HIIT training requires a certain basic level of fitness. What you can do as a beginner is to start slowly with low to medium intensity and increase it gradually to build up the basic condition. For example, instead of jogging/sprinting, you can start with walking/jogging and gradually increase the pace and thus the intensity.

Caution with pre-existing conditions

High-intensity training like HIIT may pose a risk to people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or some heart conditions. In this case, you should consult with your trusted physician. If there are no health concerns, it is recommended to start with intervals of relatively low intensity and increase slowly.

How does HIIT training work?

Now that we understand the concept of HIIT training, let’s take a look at how it is actually structured:

How long should a HIIT workout last?

The ideal length of a HIIT workout is 15-30 minutes. If it is much shorter than 15 minutes it is difficult to achieve a significant training effect (with the exception of Tabata training). If it is significantly longer than 30 minutes, it is hard for the body to recover from the training session.

How long should a HIIT training interval be?

The HIIT training interval with high intensity should last 15-60 seconds, while the following one with medium to low intensity should be 2-3x as long.

How often can I do HIIT training?

In order to have at least one day for recovery between training sessions, a maximum of 3-4 HIIT training sessions per week is recommended.

Tips for HIIT training

1. Proper warm-up

Before a HIIT workout, you should warm up your joints, tendons and ligaments with a mobility warm-up to prepare them for the load. Additionally, you can do light cardio at a low to moderate intensity for 5-10 minutes to slowly increase your heart rate before it gets up to full speed later. Incorporating additional cardio into your warm-up is especially useful in colder weather or if you’ve just started HIIT training or exercise in general.

2. Correct execution

Proper technique is important in any form of exercise, but even more so in the high intensity of HIIT training, both to effectively load the muscles and to avoid injury. Therefore, make sure that you are flawless in the execution of the exercises you perform in your HIIT workout.

3. Drink enough water

Drinking enough water, especially during physical activity is common knowledge, and your body will already give you a natural signal by feeling thirsty. During high-intensity workouts, such as HIIT training, it is even more important to keep your body hydrated, especially in the heat and high temperatures of summer.

4. Suitable nutrition

If you are doing an intense HIIT workout, you need to provide your body with the right nutrients in order to perform at full capacity and recover completely afterwards. Ideally, you should take in enough carbohydrates with the meal before the workout and enough protein with the meal after the workout.

Further questions about HIIT training

Who is HIIT training suitable for?

HIIT training is well suited for people who are short on time or prefer a short, but high-intensity workout to a longer, low-to-moderate intensity workout. Since HIIT is a flexible training system, it can be implemented with a wide variety of sports, such as jogging, running, sprinting, cycling, bodyweight training, and so on. Thus, it is not bound to a location or specific training equipment, and therefore it is suitable for people who train in a gym as well as those who train at home or in the fresh air.

Is HIIT training dangerous?

While HIIT has many benefits, in excess and without sufficient recovery, it can end up in overtraining and be counterproductive to health. In addition, people with special physical conditions, such as pregnancy or pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or various heart conditions, should consult with their trusted physician before beginning HIIT training.

What is the difference between HIIT and HIT training?

These two training systems use intensity techniques for different training goals: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is primarily used in endurance sports and for fat loss, while High-Intensity Training (HIT) is primarily used in strength sports and for muscle building and strength gains.

Final words

HIIT training is very popular and it has its good reasons: It is time-saving, effective, varied and flexible. So, many objections that you have when you can’t make it to the gym regularly are hereby eliminated. Now there are no more excuses!

Have you tried HIIT training or do you already train with it regularly? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments, I’m happy to exchange ideas with you. If you have questions about HIIT training, you can also ask me there, I’m happy to help you!

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