I have recently started doing The Bodycoach HIIT workouts from YouTube and I love them! HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is a form of exercise that allows you to burn maximum fat in minimum time, so it’s great for busy mums who may only get the odd 15 minutes here and there to get a workout in. Because HIIT is such high intensity I would not recommend it immediately post partum and it is probably best to start with a far more gentle exercise type and progress to HIIT once fully recovered.
What is a HIIT workout like?
HIIT is usually short, time wise so anything from 10 minutes to 20 minutes (although some may be longer) because it is such a high intensity workout you wouldn’t want to be doing it for too long. So for example let’s say we are going to do a 15 minute HIIT workout consisting of 15 different exercises. For each minute you might have forty seconds of activity and then twenty second rest period. The time split may be different this is just an example. In those forty seconds you will work at 100% effort, putting your all into the exercise which are usually things like high knees, jumping jacks, burpees etc. Then during the twenty seconds you can recover and catch your breath before working again. Like I said that is just an example the times splits can be different and you may repeat say three exercises in a circuit rather than having all different exercise but having the split of having intervals of high intensity exercise followed by short rest periods will stay the same. HIIT can be completed on an exercise bike or treadmill by doing sprints or even whilst running, anything where you can repeatedly get the heart rate really high.
What is so great about HIIT?
Time efficient: Super time efficient, doesn’t take long at all to do a great fat burning workout in.
Doesn’t require any equipment: You do not need anything to do a HIIT workout apart from a bit of motivation. With HIIT you can just use your own body weight for things like mountain climbers and jump squats and lunges etc. For this reason HIIT is an ideal holiday workout that can be completed in a hotel room or anywhere really.
Cardio with less muscle loss: Because HIIT is a SHORT workout you minimise muscle loss and mainly target fat. We don’t want to lose muscle, having muscle is good and exercise like steady state cardio (eg a longish run) will burn both fat and then muscle, whereas HIIT primarily just targets the fat.
Calorie burn: With HIIT you continue to burn calories after the workout is finished. The intense bursts of activity that send the heart rate soaring creates and oxygen shortage in the body (sounds scary but it’s not dangerous!) the body has to get more oxygen once the workout has finished to recover so it continues to burn calories as it does this.
How do I incorporate HIIT into my own training?
I do a wide variety of different types of workouts like kettlebell training, BBG, resistance band training and my own workouts, I like to do this to keep my body guessing and changing and so that I don’t get bored. I tend to do either a 15 or 20 minute HIIT workout on my ‘rest days’ when I am not planning on doing a full workout, usually alongside a walk. I also will do a HIIT workout if I am doing a weights based workout that is more slow lifting, focusing on form rather than fast paced cardio. Although I do sweat and feel tired lifting weights it’s not the same as the seriously sweaty, ‘I can’t breathe’ feeling you get with HIIT that I love. So I will usually do HIIT at the beginning of a weights workout as part of the warm up or to finish. One thing I would say if you are planning on doing this is that if you are training a specific area eg lower body with weights, maybe don’t do a HIIT workout that involves lots of lower body exercises like jump squats and lunges or it could be too painful and you may not be able to lift as heavy if you have tired out the muscles with HIIT to start.
As I said my personal favourite HIIT workouts are those by the Bodycoach on YouTube but there are so many different HIIT workouts to choose from including beginner and advanced options and different lengths it’s easy enough to find something that suits you. HIIT doesn’t have to take long at all, it provides great fat burn and it improves overall fitness levels aswell, I would definitely recommend trying it. Are there any HIIT workouts that you recommend trying?