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Benefits of HIIT

posted on October 12, 2017


Time is something most of us wish we had more of. If you’ve got a busy schedule like most people, HIIT (high intensity interval training) provides a great bang for your buck! Not only does HIIT allow you to maximize your time in the gym, but there are endless forms of HIIT that keep you motivated and having fun. Hill sprints, box jumps, burpee’s, jump roping, and medicine ball slams are all simple yet effective exercises you can do in a HIIT fashion, requiring minimal to no equipment.


HIIT is considered anaerobic exercise, which demands more energy and increases oxygen consumption. Think of the love-hate unable to catch your breath feeling when you do a full out sprint. The benefits of that feeling really pay off! Because your body has to catch up to intake more oxygen, EPOC (excess post- exercise oxygen consumption) occurs to compensate for the oxygen debt that must be paid after the exercise has ended. For minutes to hours after the exercise is over, your metabolism boosting hormones remain elevated, your heart and respiratory muscle activity remains increased, and your body temperature remains elevated.


The best workout is going to be one that makes you feel, move, and look better. HIIT workouts are not everyone’s cup of tea, so it you hate them, don’t force yourself to do them! Getting sweaty, feeling your chest burn, and being out of breath doesn’t necessarily make your workout smarter, better, or more effective. It can be a great addition to a training regimen, but training smart, rather than training hard is the most important factor. Performing exercise that actually makes you happy is what will keep you consistent. Being active in some way each day is so important, so don’t skip the gym or a workout just because you don’t have enough time to sweat.


Other ways of maximizing time would be to incorporate:

  1. Dense circuits- Pick 3-5 exercises and complete as many rounds as possible in a range of 5- 20 minutes
  2. Supersets- Pick 2 exercises and do one set of each exercise before taking a rest
  3. Time your rest periods
  4. Stop texting during your workout


LISS (low intensity steady state) exercise, such as walking, also has its time and place. Although LISS isn’t as quick and don’t burn calories long after the workout is over, it does have great benefits:

  • Doesn’t tax the CNS
  • Improves mood
  • Lowers cortisol
  • Reduces stress
  • Increases NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis- energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or intense exercise)
  • Aids in recovery
  • Sensitizes the body to insulin
  • Doesn’t increase hunger like HIIT


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