By now you’ve seen the acronym, but what exactly is HIIT and how can it transform your body? If you spend hours at the gym each week repeating the same workout, you may be wasting your time. While any form of exercise is beneficial, there’s a faster, better way to transform your body. Read on to find out what a HIIT workout can do for you.

A HIIT workout can transform your body.
A HIIT workout can transform your body.
Photo Credit: Leonard Ho on Pexels

What Is HIIT and How Does It Transform Your Body?

In the fitness world, HIIT refers to high intensity interval training. This type of workout consists of a pre-determined series of intense exercises, followed by a recovery period. The high-intensity segment can range from five to 30 seconds, and the recovery phase is typically equivalent. Ideally, though, your HIIT workout will involve a 20:10 or 30:10 work to rest ratio. The intensity phase of the workout must be done to failure. In other words, the goal is maximum effort and when that rest period rolls around you’ll be begging for it!

How Does HIIT Transform Your Body?

Compared to steady-state exercise, a HIIT workout can help you lose weight and tone up faster. Crossfit is a great example of a HIIT-based workout, and you’ve likely seen the impressive physiques that many of its participants have achieved.

In comparison, a continuous training (CT) workout is usually performed at between 60% and 85% of an individual’s maximal heart rate, and without any rest periods. Not only is this style of training rather boring, but the body adapts to it very quickly and then you stop seeing results.

During a HIIT workout, however, your maximal heart rate is closer to 90%, assuming you’re giving it all that you’ve got. There’s a reason that HIIT has become so popular in recent years. This type of workout should appeal to anyone who wants fast results but who also has a busy schedule.

A 2017 study published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that HIIT leads to more weight loss than more traditional forms of exercise. More of that weight loss is in the form of fat mass, while lean muscle tissue is preserved. How does it work? The researchers have identified several mechanisms.

For starters, HIIT makes the body more efficient at using insulin. That means more of it gets taken up by the muscle cells and used as energy. With less insulin floating through the bloodstream, there’s not as much of it available to our fat cells. Additionally, HIIT increases the body’s oxygen demands, which elevates the metabolism, both during and for several hours after the workout is complete.

A HIIT workout to transform your body: box jumps.
A HIIT workout to transform your body: box jumps.
Photo Credit: Li Sun on Pexels

HIIT Workout #1 to Transform Your Body

Now that we know why we should be doing more HIIT workouts, let’s take a look at how we can incorporate it.

Sprints are one of the easiest ways to take advantage of the benefits of HIIT. If you don’t have access to a gym, just head outside. Plan on a 20 to 30 minute workout. Start with a five minute warm-up, in the form of either a slow jog or a fast walk. Then set a timer for a 20/10 interval. Sprint as fast as you can for the first 20 seconds and then walk for the 10 second recovery phase. Repeat this cycle for 10 to 20 minutes, then cool down for five minutes. That’s it! You’re finished!

A jump rope, a stationary or air bike, an elliptical trainer, a treadmill, and a rowing machine can all be used to perform HIIT workouts. Some of these machines have pre-set HIIT programs. Or, you may prefer using the same structure discussed above. Rotate through several of these options to prevent boredom and watch your body transform into the fat-burning machine it was designed to be.

Weight lifting is also a great way to get your body into the fat burning zone. But when you add HIIT to the mix, you can take your results to the next level. Using a 20/10 or 30/10 split, perform a circuit of exercises—one after another—until the work interval is up. Rest for 10 seconds and then repeat for several additional rounds, depending on your fitness level and schedule.

HIIT Workout #2 to Transform Your Body

A HIIT workout to transform your body: weight lifting.
A HIIT workout to transform your body: weight lifting.
Photo Credit: Victor Freitas on Pexels

Perform each exercise below using a 20/10 split for a total of four minutes (you’ll want to set a timer). You’ll end up doing eight rounds during those four minutes. At that point, rest for one full minute before moving onto the next exercise.

  1. Prisoner squat
  2. Shoulder press
  3. Jump lunge
  4. Lateral raise

Repeat this sequence twice more.

These workouts challenge your entire body and are an effective way to use HIIT to quickly transform your physique. As you can see, you don’t need much equipment and you can perform this workout anywhere. HIIT is fast, fun, and adaptable. So stop spinning your wheels. Trade in your stale routine for a HIIT workout today. Being too busy is no longer an excuse!

Thank you for reading my article on using a HIIT workout to transform your body. As always, comments are encouraged.

Yours in health, Sarah