HIIT Workouts: Get Fitter in Less Time (+ HIIT Workout Routine)
What if I told you that you needn’t spend hours in the gym everyday to get fit? In fact, what if your workout could be as short as 20 minutes?
HIIT workouts have taken the fitness world by storm – and for good reason! If you’re not familiar with HIIT (short for high intensity interval training), these workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise (think sprinting, biking or body weight circuits) interspersed with rest periods.
Although HIIT workouts are short, they are intense (we’re talking up to 85-95% max heart rate) – and if done right should leave you completely out of breath!
HIIT workouts are perfect for anyone who is short on time but wants to see results. What’s more, HIIT workouts don’t necessarily require equipment (though a kettle bell can be a great addition!) or a gym membership, and can be done from your own living room! 🙂
The Benefits of HIIT Workouts – Fitter in Less Time!
HIIT workouts are praised for delivering greater health and weight loss benefits in less time than moderate continuous exercise (like running an hour on a treadmill!). High intensity training is also known to trigger a number of metabolic and muscle adaptations – producing BIG improvements in aerobic and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Personally, I love doing HIIT workouts once or twice a week. Call me crazy, but sometimes an intense, push-yourself-to-the-limits workout just feels gooood! And don’t worry – if you’re lacking motivation, the interval timer will keep you accountable! ?
Need some more reasons to add HIIT workouts to your exercise regime? The list of benefits is impressive:
- Lose weight with half the time commitment. HIIT training has been shown to produce significant fat loss, in some cases even moreso than continuous endurance training (1).
- HIIT workouts can produce large improvements in VO2max – greater even than that achieved by endurance exercise like running (2, 3, 4). If you’re not a fitness fanatic and don’t understand what VO2 max is yet, don’t worry! In a nutshell, VO2max is the maximum volume of oxygen that our heart, lungs and muscles can use during exercise. The better your oxygen uptake (and the higher your VO2max), the better your fitness level!
- HIIT workouts have also been shown to improve measures of insulin resistance and glycemic control. This includes reductions in HbA1c and reduced fasting glucose (5, 6).
- HIIT workouts may improve systolic blood pressure and vascular function – important in preventing cardiovascular disease (7, 8, 9). Improved vascular function may also be related to increased production of nitric oxide (10).
- HIIT workouts may reduce oxidised LDLs (the kind that contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease) and increase HDL (11).
Related: HIIT Workout: Bodyweight Circuit
Creating an Effective HIIT Workout
So how often should we be doing HIIT workouts? In general, 1-3 sessions of HIIT per week should be enough to reap the benefits.
Keep in mind that HIIT is a physical stressor on the body and can increase our cortisol and stress hormone levels (12). For this reason, it’s probably not a good idea to be overdoing it – especially if you are adding HIIT to a pre-existing workout routine, or if you suffer from adrenal or hormonal issues.
To get started with HIIT workouts I would recommend downloading a handy app like this one to help you time your circuit. Also don’t forget some music to get you pumped – if you don’t have a good workout playlist I would highly recommend downloading and searching spotify.
In general, I like to follow a body weight circuit that takes around 20 minutes. For a better look at what moves we like to include, be sure to grab the workout card below!
Grab our printable HIIT workout routine!