6 Ways High-intensity Interval Training Helps Get the Most Out of Exercising, According to Science

Do you feel like your exercise routine lacks adversity or that you’ve plateaued and no longer feel challenged? If so, you’re not alone and many repetitive exercises can make athletes feel this way. Which is why you should look into mixing up your normal activities and try one or more of the following tips for getting the most from your exercise time.

6 HIIT Questions & Answers

1. First things first: what is HIIT?

HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. At fitness studios and online, these workouts often mix aerobic and resistance training.

2. What does a HIIT routine look like?

What differentiates HIIT (or SIT) from the steady-state, continuous types of exercise — jogging at an even pace or walking, for example — is the intervals, those periods of heart-pounding intensity. If you want to try it, you can simply take a HIIT class, or run or even walk in a way that involves higher-speed and higher-incline bursts.

3. What are the benefits of interval training?

The single most well-established benefit of interval training has to do with heart health. Intervals can boost cardio-respiratory health with a smaller time investment compared to continuous forms of exercise. So we’re not talking about superior fat-burning capacity (more on that later) or bigger muscles. We’re talking about improved VO2 max, a measure of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use.

4. Why does HIIT improve cardio health?

Researchers still haven’t figured out exactly why HIIT works to improve aerobic fitness more than continuous types of exercise. But one key hypothesis, Gibala explained, has to do with the heart’s ability to pump blood.

5. Is HIIT the best exercise regimen for weight loss?

There’s no doubt that interval training can be a time-efficient way to burn calories. Researchers have repeatedly shown that people can burn comparable amounts of calories in HIIT routines lasting, say, 20 minutes, compared to longer continuous exercise routines lasting, say, 50 minutes.

6. What about the “afterburn” effect?

Many HIIT gyms tout exercise programs that will lead to an “afterburn” or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” — a period of elevated calorie burn after you exercise.

Have Questions About HIIT Training?

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