“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” – Pablo Picasso
If I told you that exercising less could be better for you, you’d laugh in my face right? Hear me out. Now I don’t mean you should trade out half your exercise time for couch surfing. What I do mean is that you could benefit greatly and possibly even enjoy yourself more if you worked out for less time at a higher intensity.
Some people slave away at the gym for hours, pacing on a treadmill or throwing weights around with the belief that the longer their exercise session lasts the better their results will be. Unfortunately, studies like this indicate that for many people, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be more beneficial than moderate-intensity continuous training alone.
That’s right, HIIT might be the pot of gold at the end of your fitness rainbow.
So what is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training is an exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise (meaning any short duration exercise that is powered primarily by metabolic pathways and not dependent on oxygen) with less intense recovery periods. These cardiovascular exercise sessions can vary from 4-30 minutes and include 30-60 seconds of hard work alternated with 15-20 seconds of rest. There are many variations and formats.
Here are some of the great perks of revving up your intensity and keeping some of your sessions short and sweet.
Picking up the intensity for even 60 seconds in an otherwise not-so-hard workout can boost your endurance and your overall health.
Continued calorie burn
Bursts of increased intensity up your caloric expenditure. That’s right, you will keep burning calories for around two hours after you’ve finished exercising.
Amp your VO2 max
VO2 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is your body’s ability to consume oxygen. A higher VO2 max means that your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles.
Get more done in less time
Simple as that folks, work smarter not harder.
Studies have indicated that more people reported greater enjoyment during a HIIT workout over continuous vigorous or moderate intensity exercise. You’re also much more likely to stick to a workout that you enjoy.
What are some physiological benefits of HIIT?
HIIT training has been shown to improve –
- aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- cardiovascular health
- blood pressure
- abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.
- insulin sensitivity (helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
So stop spending so much time working out and increase the intensity of a focused, short duration workout. While there are certainly benefits from longer endurance exercise, incorporation of interval training into a general conditioning program will optimize your cardiorespiratory fitness as well as your overall health. Plus, it’s fun, it’s sustainable and you’ll get more bang for your buck! Keep up the great work!
Ready to start some HIIT right now? Join us at Honest and see what it’s all about. Your first week is free! Sign up here!