November 2021

The 10 Biggest Benefits of HIIT - High-Intensity Interval Training

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The 10 Biggest Benefits of HIIT - High-Intensity Interval Training

Raise your hand if your schedule is kiiinnda busy these days (raises hand). Sure, you want to be healthy and fit, but who’s got the time to pump iron at the gym or spend hours on a treadmill?! Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice hours upon hours to reap the health benefits of exercise. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for busy exercisers who want an effective workout and aren’t afraid to push themselves. HIIT has been growing in popularity over the last decade and was even voted as a top fitness trend in a 2020 survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. Is HIIT right for you? Here are 10 great benefits of HIIT to help you decide. (Note: it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new type of exercise regiment, including high-intensity interval training.)

1.      HIIT Workouts Are Short

Short and sweet is our love language. And one of the primary benefits of HIIT training is that the workouts are short. The catch is that you’ll need to give it your absolute all during this quick workout. We’re talking about a heart-pounding, sweat-dripping and quads quivering finish to every workout.

So, what exactly is HIIT? Vox explains that “HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.” Most HIIT workouts last between 10 and 30 minutes, though some versions can be as short as five minutes. The work-to-rest ratio can vary, but it isn’t uncommon to see something like 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest per exercise. Most HIIT workouts consist of several rounds of three to six movements.  

HIIT workouts are no joke, but they can be done quickly. Even including a short warmup and cooldown on either side of your HIIT session, you can still be out of the gym in 40 minutes or less.

2.      HIIT Workouts Burn Tons of Calories

HIIT workouts aren’t just quick, they’re also effective. Ideally, you’ll want to really push yourself during the work portion of the workout to roughly 80% of your max heart rate. (A quick shorthand to estimate your max heart rate is to start with 220 and deduct your age.)

The harder your body works, the more calories you burn. As Self explains, “Working harder = higher oxygen intake = greater calorie burn.” And according to a 2015 study, researchers found that 30 minutes of HIIT training burned 25 to 30% more calories than 30 minutes of steady-state cardio exercise, like running or biking.

3.      The Calorie Burn Keeps on Going

Burn, baby burn. One of the hidden benefits of interval training is that your calorie burn won’t stop after you finish your final rep. (Yep—go back and read that again!) Pushing your body hard during your workout forces it to use more effort to bring you back to normal after your exercise session is done. This process has the wordy name of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), but a lot of exercisers call this “afterburn.” Studies have shown that you can gain a boost in metabolism for hours after a HIIT workout. In this way, HIIT really is the workout that keeps on giving.

4.      HIIT May Help You Burn Extra Fat

While it’s true that adjusting your nutrition will have the biggest impact on fat loss, exercise can also help to boost your dietary efforts. Putting your body through the challenge of a HIIT workout will quickly raise your heart rate, forcing your body to work hard and burn extra calories. Some studies have shown that HIIT can assist in weight loss efforts, including a 2012 study that found that overweight participants performing three, 20-minute HIIT sessions per week lost 4.4 pounds of body fat over three months without any changes to their diet. Incredible, right?! 

5.      HIIT Workouts Can Also Build Muscle

Many people love HIIT cardio benefits, but the HIIT workout format can also incorporate strength elements. HIIT works especially well for bodyweight movements, like air squats, lunges, sit-ups and push-ups. Adding these elements into your HIIT workout will help you build muscular endurance as well as improve your muscle mass. You won’t get huge muscles this way, but you will see your strength improve and notice that your body looks leaner and more toned. And who wouldn’t want that?! 

6.      HIIT Workouts Are Incredibly Versatile

It’s like they say, variety is the spice of life! And one of our favorite benefits of HIIT training at Jazzercise is the versatility and variety of this workout format. We love how many different movements you can add into a HIIT workout so that no two sweat sessions are ever the same. You can also use the HIIT format to focus on certain types of training. Interval training can be a great way to improve on a single skill, like running, swimming or cycling. You can also perform strength-training HIIT workouts using lightweight dumbbells, kettlebells and a barbell. Whatever fitness goal you want to accomplish, you can create a HIIT workout to support it.

7.      HIIT Workouts Improve Your Cardio Endurance

If you feel winded after climbing a long flight of stairs or walking around the block, these are both signs that there is some room for improvement in terms of your cardio endurance (assuming you are otherwise healthy, of course). A HIIT workout forces your heart to work extra hard in order to pump oxygen to your hungry muscles. Over time, performing regular HIIT workouts will make your heart more efficient. Additionally, your muscles will also become better at using the oxygen received by your heart. 

8.      You Can Do HIIT Workouts at Home

As you already know, we love a workout that can be done from anywhere. Because HIIT is such a versatile exercise format, you can perform HIIT workouts anywhere, including the gym, your home or even at your local park. For example, a HIIT workout may include movements like high-knees, wall push-ups and burpees. These movements can be done from anywhere, so if you can’t make it to the gym, you can still enjoy the benefits of interval training from the comfort of your own home! 

9.      HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Heart Health

We’re all about heart health, and as we’re sure you’re well aware, exercise has been shown to help improve heart health in a major way. HIIT workouts are no exception. Research indicates that HIIT workouts can reduce blood pressure in adults at risk of developing hypertension, while another study suggests HIIT may even be more effective at lowering blood pressure than moderate-intensity exercise.

10. You Can Find Plenty of HIIT Classes at Jazzercise

HIIT workouts are designed to push you to your limit, which can make it difficult to follow through on HIIT exercise sessions on your own. Performing HIIT in a class environment is the best way to keep yourself accountable and to take a little motivation from all your fellow classmates. Also, trained instructors can design HIIT workouts that give you a complete workout and help you enjoy all the benefits of HIIT.

At Jazzercise, we offer several classes that embrace bouts of high-intensity exercise to keep you pumped! In particular, our Interval-Dance Mixx and Interval Fusion classes both utilize the HIIT methodology. If you want to give HIIT a try but aren’t sure how to begin, join one of our supportive and welcoming classes or try Jazzercise On Demand. We can’t wait to meet you!


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