9 Reasons to Do More High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
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When the average person hears the word cardio, his heart rate shoots up 30 points and the person wants to get out of their feet. The average athlete and gym visitor would prefer to never do cardio. You probably do not.
And I will not blame you. Because who wants to do something for hours every week without seeing results? Or what can be achieved much faster?
There is a way to burn fat with cardio in a nicer, healthier and short way. That way is called High-Intensity Interval Training. And in this article, I will tell you exactly what it is and I will give you 9 reasons why you should start today.
What is HIIT?
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of endurance sport that fortunately does not last that long. It is characterized by an alternation of short but powerful moments of effort alternated by even shorter moments of relaxation.
Where regular cardio is characterized by running or walking at a consistent pace over a long period of time, High Intensity Interval Training is characterized by short periods of explosiveness. The regular advice for running is to maximize your self at about 70-80% of your ability. At HIIT you literally and figuratively give the full 100% and then take a break during a short break.
This way of running (if you want to call it that) appears to be much healthier and better for the body from different studies than for hours per week at a moderate pace through the meadows. Why this is, I will share with you later in the article. But first I have to give you a warning.
High Intensity Interval Training is not for everyone
HIIT is unfortunately not possible for every person. Because you give the full 100% during a High Intensity Interval Training, this will be stressful for your entire body. This is, of course, good since you want to burn calories. The more you burn, the more fat you lose and therefore a clothing size smaller.
In addition, you are off to a positive point giving a signal for your body to function better.
But a select group of people can better abandon HIIT or at least build it up very calmly:
- People with high blood pressure
- Persons with (congenital) heart problems
- People with arthritis complaints
- People with limited mobility
The above list of complaints is not mild. It goes without saying that you have to take extra care with HIIT. It is good to give your full 100% during a cardio training but surviving your training is of course even more important.
You have several options to tackle your High Intensity Interval Training if you suffer from one of the above points:
- Do it under supervision
- Doing in groups
- Warm up and/or stretch
- Do not go for 100% (80-90% for example)
- Forming HIIT where you can injure yourself less (cycling instead of running for example)
- Never increase the duration AND intensity at the same time. Choose one of the two
This makes it possible to do HIIT without injuring yourself. It would be a shame to find a nice form of cardio and after half a training session, you would be out of circulation for half a year. Or worse, of course.
But what are the reasons for doing HIIT at all? I’m going to explain that one by one now.
9 Benefits of HIIT Training
HIIT has many advantages. Both for your money and the amount of time you spend on it. If you have to be convinced, I have listed the 9 best reasons for you here.
Reason # 1: HIIT improves your stamina.
There are few things in the nutrition and sports theory that the scientists agree on. It is therefore not surprising that there are different diets on the market from carbohydrate to low carbohydrate. And the same can be said for fats and proteins. Fortunately, there is one thing that all scientists agree on. And that is that vegetables are healthy.
Now, of course, this blog is not about vegetables but about High Intensity Interval Training. I can tell you that HIIT training are the vegetables in the sports world.
It is really good for almost every aspect of your health. Your endurance as an athlete is one of them.
You may not say it, but the small explosive effort you make will improve your endurance. You read it correctly:
It is not necessary to go through the dust every day as a runner to improve your fitness and endurance.
This has to do with an improvement of your VO2max.
The VO2max is the amount of oxygen that you can transport per unit of time and use during physical exertion. The higher this is, the better of course. This allows you to make more use of every breath you take.
In the case of a large meta-analysis (an investigation that throws several studies into a pile and draws a conclusion from that) from 2013, it appears that the longer your HIIT training is, the better your VO2max will improve.
Another study showed that after 6 HIIT training your VO2max even doubled. And that in only 10-20 minutes at a time. If you are talking about a good cost-benefit ratio.
The stamina you get is also more applicable in real life. When you have to pull that sporadic sprint to get the bus, you unconsciously do HIIT: you take a short sprint and then have a rest. Depending on your luck, this is on the bus or bus stop.
Reason # 2: HIIT keeps your muscle mass intact
There is only one real reason why you see people doing cardio. This is especially the case in the gym:
People who run on the treadmill or are on the cross trainer want to lose kilos.
And with pounds, I mean kilos of fat and no muscles.
Muscle mass is an important part of your health. You do not have to walk around with 100 kilos, but having too little is certainly not good either. But nowadays that is not the greatest danger.
Wearing too much fat is the biggest problem. Especially visceral fat is a huge risk factor. The more belly fat you have, the higher your chance of:
- Heart and vascular disease
- Diabetes type 2
Here is where HIIT comes around. It turns out that you can lose fat without reducing your muscle mass. And if there is a reduction? Then this is much less than with traditional cardio.
Just look at the pictures below. One is a long distance racer (a traditional runner) and the other is an explosive sprinter (HIIT cardio).
Despite both ‘running’, their physique is different. And you must have a significant eye defect in order to say that one of the two overweight has.
If I asked 100 people which body they would like to have, 9 out of 10 will indicate that of the sprinter. Why? Because the person has a nice and healthy amount of muscles with little fat.
The difference has to do with the kind of combustion what the body undergoes during the training. Here are two variations of:
- Aerobic combustion
- Anaerobic burn
Explosive workouts (weight lifting and HIIT) are anaerobic. That means that little / no oxygen is used in the combustion.
Traditional running is just aerobic. With this training, the body has enough time to supply oxygen and make energy from fat … but also muscle mass. As a result, runners are rarely muscled. With HIIT and weight lifting, the body simply does not have the time to break down your muscle mass.
So if you want to look like a sprinter, you have to train like a sprinter. And if you want to keep your hard-earned muscle mass, you need to do HIIT as a form of cardio.
Reason # 3: HIIT increases your metabolism
Your metabolism, and with it your fat burning, can rise in different ways. Eating the right products alone can cause your body to burn more.
This can be due to the fact that your body gets the right vitamins/minerals and on the other hand because what it needs to digest requires a lot of energy to process. This is the case with proteins, for example.
Another good way to increase your metabolism is to do High Intensity Interval Training.
And here is why.
A study carried out in 1994 has shown something very remarkable. During this study, the participants were divided into two groups.
- 15 week HIIT group
- 20-week cardio group
You do not have to be a mathematical genius to see that the traditional cardio group has been training for 5 weeks longer. It is therefore not entirely surprising that this group had burned 15,000 kcal more over the entire study.
“But Tommy, you said that HIIT was better”
That’s it too. Because despite the fact that the cardio group had burned 15,000 kcal more, the HIIT group had lost more body fat in less time.
In other words:
The cardio group had to do more and got less. Not exactly my goal in life.
A similar study lasting only 8 weeks showed that the normal cardio group did not lose body fat at all. While the HIIT group went down two percent body fat. Two percent does not sound much but in 8 weeks this is a big presentation.
The remarkable differences of this study are due to the changes in your metabolism that occur.
Reason # 4: HIIT takes little time
You read it above but it is definitely worth it to say it again:
With HIIT you can achieve the same (or more) in less time than regular cardio.
And who does not want that?
You and I are busy with all the fun things in life. It is indeed true that sports prolong your life expectancy. But if you have to be on the treadmill for 2 hours a day, do not you throw that extra life expectancy right into the trash by sporting them every day?
Realize that an average HIIT session lasts only 20 minutes. If you can not keep that up, then 10 minutes is fine too.
The McMaster University in Canada showed that an 18-minute HIIT training gave the same result as a regular 90-minute training.
You read that correctly. By training just a little bit differently, you can exercise for an hour less. If you like sports, you have to go loose. But most people see sport as an obligation. And if you can do less of an obligation without compromising on the result, then, of course, that is always good.
Reason # 5: HIIT increases the production of growth hormone
Ho, ho, ho. Do not worry. You will not look like a bodybuilder washed out of the root ball by pulling some sprints. But if you want to, HIIT will support you.
Having sufficient muscle mass and hormones is very important. Enough muscle mass, especially when you get older, protects you from accelerated decay.
The lower your total muscle mass is as an older person, the shorter your life expectancy will be. That is one of the many reasons why sports (especially strength training) is important in old age.
In addition, having a healthy testosterone level as a man and woman is important. Few sex hormones in the blood have been linked to, for example, depression. Due to the lack of these hormones, men and women feel depressed. You are less comfortable in your skin. With all the bad consequences.
The third, and not entirely unimportant, an advantage is that sex hormones also contribute to fat burning. Rara why many elderly people get a belly? This has not so much to do with the diet and everything with the number of hormones in the body.
You probably feel it coming, but I still call it:
HIIT increases the number of growth hormones in your body. Both the amount of HGH and testosterone. Something that, by the way, does not do regular running.
What an extra explanation is why a marathon runner looks like he has not eaten for 4 weeks and a sprinter has a lot of muscle.
Reason # 6: HIIT is healthy for your heart
Any idea where the word ‘cardio’ is derived from? No, it is not synonymous with ‘hell’ or ‘physical torture’. It is derived from a medical term:
Cardio is derived from the Greek cardia. What ‘heart’ means. Vascular is derived from the Greek Vas. This means ‘barrel’.
It is therefore not surprising that you feel that your heart (kardia) is jumping when you do cardio. And it will not surprise you either that doing cardio is good for your heart and blood vessels.
However, there is a big ‘but’.
Physical exercise is healthy for your body as long as it does not take too long. Explosiveness and intensity are not nearly as disastrous for your body (especially your heart) as running for hours at a slow pace.
As primal people we had only two forms of movement:
- Slow but prolonged walking
- Sprinting quickly but briefly (HIIT!)
What makes regular running funest is that it combines the top two, making it less healthy for your heart. In addition, you are running fast and long-term. Ideally, you do one or the other. Not a combination of both.
Less healthy does not necessarily mean unhealthy. A study from 2003 shows that every form of exercise is healthy, as long as you do not burden your body for a long time. HIIT lends itself perfectly for that.
Reason # 7: HIIT is not boring
Honest is fair.
I respect people who can put their brain in position 0 day after day and then run for hours. Personally, I like something more exciting and varied in life. And that goes for everything I do.
And you want that too.
You do not want to eat the same thing every day. You do not want to watch the same on TV. Even your favorite movie is no longer fun after the 5th time.
As a human being, we love … no, we yearn for variety.
And do you know what kind of movement does not give you that? Running regularly.
It is literally nothing more of an hour a day to pretend you are being chased by a lion with a limp leg. You have to run but you do not have to dig out.
Obtaining music of course helps but that proves just how deadly boring the activity is:
You need a distraction to guide you through.
This is quite different with HIIT. You can perform different exercises in a HIIT exercise. Everything from jumping rope to abdominal exercises. You can make it as crazy and varied as you want.
Reason # 8: HIIT can be done anywhere
I have dropped the word gym here and there but I used this purely to sketch a picture of a person or sport. HIIT can do you fine in a gym …
… but this is absolutely not necessary!
Look. It is theoretically possible to run in your living room. Place the bank in the middle and run around it at a good pace. Will, you sweat and huff and puff? Doubtless.
Is this a good argument to use during the discussion “running fine in the living room”?
But as far as HIIT is concerned, this is fine.
It is easy to jump for 3 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of jumping jacks and then 3 minutes of high knees in your living room. And you can literally do all of this on the same square meter.
Not only can you do it anywhere in your house … .ok not every place, the toilet is not particularly useful. But you can also do it at any time of the day. Weather or no weather, you can always train and are not dependent on anything.
In addition, you do not have to bring flashy clothes, shoes or gadgets for the home. You can literally start with HIIT with what you are now wearing. Unless of course, you have stiletto heels.
Reason # 9: Mentally stronger
Running requires actually little mental strength. You have to completely throw your brain to zero and survive the first 20 minutes. Then you will notice that running is not so difficult, but the same remains in difficulty.
HIIT, on the other hand, will teach you how to deal with fatigue, muscle pain and a lot of burning muscles through lactic acid build-up.
In the beginning, this will be a hell. And probably later when you just start to work a bit harder again. Fortunately, this will give you more than just physical benefits.
HIIT will test your perseverance and also strengthen it.
The more you learn not to give up during your training, the more will power you will have outside your training. In the will-power psychology, this is called the ‘spillover effect’.
It turns out that you will train willpower on one level, spread like an oil slick on other surfaces.
If you decide to take extremely cold showers from now on, this will cost a lot of willpower. In the beginning, it is very difficult, but as you do it more often, you become better at it. That is due to increased will power.
In the same period, you will notice that you can, for example, better sustain an HIIT session. Conversely, it also works:
The more and heavier your HIIT session is, the more will power you get in other areas.
This makes it easier, for example, to have a healthier lifestyle, apart from sport. Because of your increased will power, you can more easily say “no” to unhealthy food.
Make no mistake in HIIT
HIIT is not for the delicate souls among us. It sounds fun and easy to train ‘only’ 20 minutes at a time. And that can be fine. But do not see it as an excuse to train less.
HIIT is challenging, heavy and for many people in a positive sense.
But it is definitely worth it. Especially when doing it in a group (crossfit or group lessons at a gym) it is effective. Through the group, you are very challenged and you will also get more out of the training.
This allows you (with a little help) to get more out of yourself. And you will see the results reflected in the mirror.
Sports is the beginning
High Intensity Interval Training is not the only way to burn fat. Sport is one aspect, but nutrition is of course another.
Some training equipment to start your HIIT Training, check below!!
Spice up your work out with some Kettlebell exercise, change your running routine with cycling so bad weather will not be a problem. You wanna have a hard butt try the Vertical Climber Machine and the Professional Aerobic Stepper fit always in a HIIT program.
Important: Leave your reaction and any additions below.
If you like this blog, share it with your friends, customers, colleagues – Tommy