If you’re spending time on a fitness website or in a gym these days, the chances are high that you’ve been bombarded with a few common terms. One of the most common ones is High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Those who practice it swear by its benefits, and they have the results to prove it. But why do HIIT workouts work so well?
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT workouts work because they raise your metabolism even after the workout is over. Plus, they increase your energy and oxygen consumption. Besides that, these workouts are easier to stick to because they require less of a time commitment, can be done with or without equipment, and condition your body for other forms of high-intensity exercise.
In the following sections, we will take a closer look at those six reasons why HIIT workouts work so well for many people and how they can benefit you, too!
Whenever you work out, regardless of how you’re doing it, your metabolic rate will go up temporarily. That comes as a result of the sudden increase in energy demand that you’re placing onto your body. Unfortunately, your metabolic rate will go back to its normal levels pretty quickly after the workout is done.
That’s not the case when it comes to HIIT. You see, HIIT workouts involve short but intense repeated bursts of energy output. Those intense bursts put a heavy burden on your cardiovascular system and your muscles, even more than if you were to do an easy exercise for a much longer time.
Simply put, your body will continue to require plenty of energy for hours after you’ve finished your HIIT workout, resulting in a higher metabolic rate for much longer.
As mentioned before, your body taps into your energy stores to keep you going through a workout. Typically, though, your body will start by tapping into energy stores that burn quickly, like whatever carbs and sugars you might have consumed earlier.
However, the proportion of energy that comes directly from your fat stores is smaller because it takes longer to metabolise.
With HIIT, it’s a different story. These intense workouts that activate different muscle groups simultaneously are very efficient at getting your body to tap into its fat stores to power it during the workout.
Better yet, these workouts also result in your body tapping into fat stores during the recovery period as well.
What does that mean? It means you’re using up more fat during and after the workout, leading to much better results in terms of your body composition.
Did you know that your body burns calories while it consumes oxygen? That’s right. So, if your body’s oxygen consumption was to suddenly rise, so too would your calorie burning. That is precisely what happens during a HIIT workout.
Try to do a HIIT workout or watch videos of people doing it online. What you’ll see is that those short bursts and compound movements in a HIIT workout will leave anyone breathless very quickly.
Why does that happen? Well, it’s because HIIT workouts don’t just require lots of quick energy, but they also require lots of oxygen as well. Your lungs will do their very best to pull in as much air as possible to keep your blood oxygenated, and in doing so, burn up plenty of calories.
But as you’ve read earlier, the effects of a HIIT workout don’t just last during your training but also carry on for hours after you’ve stopped and left the gym.
Besides an increased metabolic rate, there’s also something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. In simple terms, that means your body will continue to consume large amounts of oxygen even after your HIIT workout has ended.
And as you already know, an increased oxygen consumption leads to increased calorie burning.
Performing High-Intensity Interval Workouts are also excellent for your overall strength and cardiovascular conditioning. That conditioning will also come in handy when performing other types of workouts, whether you’re lifting heavy weights or performing cardio.
Besides that, your HIIT training will also help you perform much better at sports. Remember: HIIT workouts train your body to cope with sudden high-intensity movements. Conditioning your body that way will help you perform much better in sports that involve similar movements such as soccer, football, martial arts, and many more.
When deciding whether a particular type of workout will work for you or not, it’s also essential to consider the non-physical or logistical factors as well. For instance, people often underestimate the effect of how much time is required to perform a workout.
HIIT workouts work so well for many people because they take very little time to complete. Instead of spending hours on end at the gym exercising the conventional way, you could be done in 30 minutes or less with a properly executed HIIT workout.
That can be a blessing for many people, especially those who have tight schedules surrounding their work and family.
Besides requiring very little time, another one of the top benefits of HIIT workouts is that you can do them with or without equipment. The emphasis of HIIT is on the intensity of the movement, not the equipment that you use.
So, you could enjoy every single benefit a HIIT workout has to offer, even if you’re only doing bodyweight exercises. All you’ll have to do is combine several different exercises into a circuit and do them in short, intense bursts for it to give you the benefits of a HIIT workout.
As you can see, HIIT workouts work for many people because they offer plenty of benefits. Besides conditioning your body for higher performance and increasing your calorie and fat burning, these workouts also require very little time to complete. Best of all, you can do them with or without equipment, making them much easier to perform.