Choi Chung, RPh, BScPharm
Do you find that you don’t have enough time in a day to exercise?
Finding the time to workout doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes, even just getting ready to hit the gym feels harder than the workout itself. While you might never be someone who leaps out of bed to go on a 10-mile run, there is a secret to finding the time to exercise and making it as productive as possible: HIIT
HIIT: What is it?
Traditional workouts often involve low-to-moderate intensity, steady-state forms of exercise, such as walking or jogging on a treadmill for 45 minutes to 1 hour. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of cycling between all-out intensity exercise followed by low-intensity for anywhere between 10-20 minutes.1
Many experts have differing opinions when it comes to how much time you should be spending at each low and high-intensity, but the truth is, there is no right answer (at least, according to current research).1
Some of these variations include 30-seconds of high-intensity (e.g. all-out/full-blitz running or biking) followed by 30-seconds of low-intensity (e.g. a pace where you can start to breathe again). Other variations include 8-seconds of high-intensity and 12-seconds of low-intensity; and even as long as 2-minutes of high-intensity followed by 3-minutes of low.1
What does this mean for you? It means that HIIT training can be as easy as alternating between high and low speed during a run or bike ride. It also means you don’t have to worry too much about the type of HIIT workout you take on, as so many different routines seem to work and there doesn’t appear to be one that’s better than the others.
What are the Benefits of HIIT?
HIIT doesn’t only save you time; it actually seems to burn more fat than conventional workouts. Current research suggests that cycling between all-out intensity and lower intensities causes the body to undergo fat oxidation, both during and after exercising.
Also, HIIT has been shown to improve both aerobic fitness (longer, continuous activities) and anaerobic fitness (sprint exercises), as well as improving the function of insulin in the body.1
What are the Downfalls of HIIT?
A lot of people find it challenging to do HIIT indoors on cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals and bikes. This is mainly due to the amount of time it takes to adjust things like speed and resistance, especially when you’re trying to change your pace every 15 seconds.
Secondly, not everyone can tolerate these bursts of intense exercise. If you’ve previously been engaging in slower, more consistently paced workouts, it may be best to slowly transition towards HIIT instead of jumping in.
Keep in mind: just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are still plenty of people losing tons of weight doing HIIT indoors!
So Where do I Start?
HIIT isn’t for everyone, but it can certainly help if you’re trying to lose weight and struggle to find the time to exercise in more traditional ways. As always, speak with a medical provider before starting a HIIT program if you have any medical conditions or other health-related concerns.
As always, we hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
- Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 868305. http://doi.org/10.1155/2011/868305