Okay, so after sinking a little too deeply into your couch over the holidays, you’ve decided it’s high time to get fitter. But let’s be real—no one really enjoys slogging it out for hours at the gym. And dragging yourself around the gym for an hour or two on the daily is NOT schedule-friendly. If only there were a way to hack our workouts so that they could be shorter, but even *more* effective...
Lucky us, that magical workout already exists—high intensity interval training! If you haven't hopped on the HIIT train yet, here are 4 reasons you absolutely should...
It's a legit monster workout.
The reason HIIT workouts are so effective is because they are a workout hybrid. Generally, there are two main styles of workouts—resistance training or aerobic training. Any sort of physical activity you do falls into at least one of these two categories, and they each come with their share of benefits.
Yep, they’re both pretty awesome. But to reap the benefits of both, who really has the time to spend an hour swinging a kettlebell and then another hour on the treadmill? That's where HIIT comes in.
With HIIT, you can have your gluten free cake and eat it too. Because HIIT workouts balance both styles of exercise, they burn a ton of calories and supercharge your metabolic rate for hours post-sweat. They also boost muscle, burn fat, and even improve your muscles' ability to utilize oxygen. And let's not forget the research that suggests that HIIT leads to an impressive reduction in blood pressure, stress, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. All that goodness in only 10 to 20 minutes!
In general, the hallmarks of a proper HIIT workout are:
- Very high-intensity
- Exercises alternate between intense bursts of activity and active rest
- Exercises alternate regularly between muscle groups, staggering upper body and lower body exercises so as to exhaust both halves equally
- Time is more valued over reps
- Generally remain under 20 minutes. In fact, Tabata-style workouts are highly intense and only last for 4 minutes. That’s right, no excuses for not squeezing a quality sweat sesh in!
Apps make it even easier.
You don't need a fancy gym membership to do HIIT workouts—they're super accessible and easy to do in your own home—but it can be tough to push yourself, especially in a workout that pushes you right to the edge of your fitness. If you're lacing up solo, apps can be invaluable in creating a balanced workout structure and maintaining accountability. We love Sworkit or Seven if you’re just getting started. All you have to do is execute—and CRUSH it!
More isn’t necessarily better.
You don't have to slog through long workouts 6 days a week to see improvements, unlike traditional workouts. To see major gains with HIIT workouts, you only have to do them a few times a week in short, intense bursts.
Be aware, you can actually overdo it with intense aerobic workouts like HIIT. Too much cardio can increase cortisol in the body—effectively boosting stress and causing that boost in metabolism to come to a screeching halt. HIIT isn't meant to be an extended slog. You want to pack a lot of punch into a small pocket of time for the greatest benefits. Remember, less is actually more. Do them 3 to 5 times a week, and keep them short and sweet.
You'll make wellness your habit.
When adopting a new wellness habit, especially a new fitness routine, the key to long term success is in making it a habit. HIIT workouts are so pleasantly bite-sized, they're easy to incorporate into your crazy schedule.
If you need a little more accountability help to reach your fitness goals, we got your back. We created this gorgeous Wellness Habit Calendar to help you achieve your goals all year long! All you have to do is download it, print it out, and hang it somewhere up front and center to encourage you to track your daily successes. (Just remember, it takes an average of 90 days for a habit to really stick, so keep track of new habits for at least 3 months at a time.)
Now go HIIT up that workout!