HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is fast being proven as one of the most effective ways to both burn fat and build muscle, by elevating your heart rate and burning calories, both during your workout and during the hours afterwards.


There are two main ways of incorporating HIIT into your workouts. Aerobic HIIT involves working at around 80-90% of your maximum heart rate for a set period of time when running, cycling or taking part in a similar cardiovascular activity, and then following this with a short rest (either at a lower intensity or a complete rest). This is then repeated X number of times.

Bodyweight or resistance HIIT works in a very similar way. A set number of reps of an exercise are performed which push your heart rate up, and are followed by a less demanding exercise or rest period and repeated for a set length of time. Resistance HIIT can be made up of an unlimited number of different exercises; everything from plyometrics such as burpees and squat jumps, to stationary free weight exercises such as presses and rows.


1. The EPOC effect

The ‘EPOC’ – or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – effect is the period of time after you’ve exercised, when your body is restoring itself back to how it was pre-workout and therefore continuing to use a high amount of energy. Simply, this means the body is continuing to burn calories at a high rate, similar to that of when the workout was being performed.

2. Quick and effective

If you don’t have much time, but still want to feel like you’ve pushed yourself in just a short period of time, HIIT is perfect. Studies have shown that just 15 minutes of HIIT is more productive than running on a treadmill for an hour and, with the Tabata training method, you can get a sweat on in just 4 minutes.

3. Health improvements

HIIT improves cardiovascular health, aerobic and anerobic training systems, and can even lower blood pressure. A lot of people aren’t used to pushing themselves into their anaerobic zone – the glamorous place where you find yourself short for breath with your heart simultaneously pumping out of your chest – but this daunting place is beneficial to improving both your heart health, and your fitness levels.

4. Fat loss, not muscle loss

If you’re trying to lose a little weight, it is not uncommon to see some of the weight lose coming from reduced muscle mass, not fat (especially if your go to exercise is steady rate cardio). HIIT promotes the loss of body fat, whilst toning and building muscle mass at the same time.

5. Increased metabolism

HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450% during the 24 hours after your workout. This is ideal for not only burning calories, but for also slowing down our inevitable age-ing process.

6. Workout any time, any place

You can complete a HIIT workout anywhere, with no equipment necessary. Treadmills, bikes and skipping ropes are all great pieces of equipment for HIIT workouts, but bodyweight squats, jumping lunges, high knees and jumping jacks are just as good at increasing your heart rate. Similarly you don’t need a fancy gym for an effective workout. Why not try the park, your garden, or even your living room?

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