Editor note: This is a guest post from Krista Stryker of 12 Minute Athlete.
Okay, a show of hands. Who else thinks you have to spend hours in the gym in order to get in a good workout? I used to be just like you. I’d spend an hour (or two!) doing cardio, lifting weights, and maybe even hitting the punching bag till I was exhausted and dripping with sweat—six days a week. Because anything less than that doesn’t really count as a workout… right?
There is a style of training you can do that won’t eat up all your time—that you can do in just 10 to 20 minutes a day, giving you more time to do the activities you actually want to be doing—like surfing, hiking, or even just having coffee with friends. It’s not a gimmick. It really works. It’s called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and it should be your new best workout friend.
So, What is HIIT?
HIIT is any sort of activity that alternates periods of high and low-intensity training. It can be used with any sort of exercise—running, biking, jump roping, rowing, resistance exercise, etc.
HIIT has tons of incredible benefits, including but not limited to:
- Increased overall athletic performance
- Helps to prevent or overcome plateaus
- Allows for greater VO2 (oxygen) intake
- Prevents injuries associated with repetitive endurance training—including minimizing the risk of overtraining
- It’s really great for your heart!
The only caveat to interval training? In order to do it right, you have to work really, really hard. So run fast, jump high, and sweat buckets—just do so knowing it’ll be over before you know it. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few other reasons why you should fall in love with interval training today.
Ever spend so much time in the gym that you find you no longer have the time to do the activities you really want to do—like surf, hike, go for a bike ride, or even take your dog for a walk? That used to happen to me. A lot. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because with interval training, you get more done in less time.
Most HIIT workouts take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes—giving you much more time to do all the other things you actually want to be doing the rest of the day. And that’s pretty awesome if you ask me.
It Makes Your Body a Fat-Burning Machine
Since interval training allows you to accomplish a greater amount of work in a shorter amount of time, you’re not only gaining time, you’ll also get in shape much quicker than you would with low or medium intensity cardio.
Because not only does interval training burn more calories in less time, it also revs up your metabolism for the entire day—so you’re not only burning fat during your workout, you’re burning more fat for up to 48 hours afterwards. That’s good news for anyone wanting to lose weight or get into the best shape of their lives—without spending hours in the gym.
Give HIIT a Try
You can do interval training with or without equipment—the only thing you’ll really need is some sort of timer.
Here are a few sample interval workouts you can try on your own:
- 12 rounds of 10 and 50 second intervals. 10 is the rest interval, 50 is the work interval. Alternate between: burpees, air squats and push ups.
- 18 rounds of 10 and 30 second intervals. Alternate between: high knees using a jump rope, walking lunges, squat jumps, dive bomber push ups, burpees and sit ups.
- 12 rounds of 10 and 50 second intervals. Alternate between: burpees, pull ups, tuck jumps and v ups.
Remember, the harder you work, the more effective your workout will be! Now go do some HIIT, and have some fun with it while you’re at it.