A lot of people believe you have to run a 5k every single day to lose fat. That's far from the truth. In fact, running can be super hard on all of your joints, leading to you feeling burnt out and lethargic. Cardio doesn't have to be running outside or going on the stairmaster for an hour a day, I promise.
I'm sure you've heard of a workout called HIIT. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, and the benefits to doing HIIT are more than you can imagine. HIIT is one of the most intense workouts you can do, and there are so many ways you can do HIIT so it's not boring for you.
HIIT is usually between 10-20 minutes, and you go full force for a certain amount of time, rest, and then go full force again. See, you're typically only doing the intervals for 30 seconds to a minute, and your break is usually just as long as your intervals. So if you're doing the standard HIIT on a treadmill or bike, you'd do 10 to 15 minutes, where you run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, jump your legs to the side and be at a stand still for 30 seconds, and repeat this until you're at your goal.
Other HIIT workouts you can do are combining toning and cardio. You can make this up on your own, or I suggest checking out Tone It Up on YouTube, they have a ton of free HIIT workouts that leave you dripping sweat. Combining toning and cardio helps burn fat while building muscle, so this is perfect if you're not looking to lose a ton of weight. If you're looking to do HIIT on your own time, doing moves like deadlifts for 30 seconds, right into jump squats for 30 seconds and then taking a 30 second break is what will benefit you most. Switch up the moves or do multiple circuits for 10 to 15 minutes and your body will thank you!
So now, let's get into the benefits of HIIT. As we've discussed, HIIT burns fat while toning your muscles, and that's what most people want. However, since you're doing it in such a short time and bringing your heart rate through the roof, EPOC will start to happen. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which in shorter form means afterburn. HIIT allows your body to keep burning calories even after you're done working out for up to 36 hours after.
You'll notice if you take a shower after doing HIIT, you're still sweating even when you get out and try and get dressed. That's EPOC and that means it's working! HIIT is also perfect when you don't have a lot of time, but need to burn the maximum amount of calories. There are so many benefits to HIIT, and I could go on forever as it is my all time favourite workout. But here are just a few:
- You don't need equipment, you can do it with your own body weight.
- That feeling where you can't breathe and your heart is racing? Yes, that's a good thing during HIIT. You're pushing yourself into the anaerobic zone!
- Since you're burning calories for so long, your metabolism is working like crazy meaning more fat burn!
- You can do it in a hotel room, in your backyard, in the park. ANYWHERE!
- If you're looking to gain muscle and lose weight, this is optimal for you. While you usually have to choose between the two, HIIT is one of the only ways you can do both at the same time.
Soooo, are you convinced yet? No matter who you are, you can benefit from doing HIIT. The 1:1 ratio (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) will send your heart rate through the roof, and you'll hate the feeling during it. But after, you'll feel transformed. A lot of people in the fitness industry use HIIT at the end of their training workouts to blast fat, which is proof enough that it works!
Of course, speak with your doctor before trying any new workout programs to see if it's the best for you. I would not suggest doing HIIT if you're a beginner, and instead work up to a goal first.