What is HIIT?

If‌ ‌you're‌ ‌a‌ ‌gym‌ ‌regular,‌ ‌you'll‌ ‌likely‌ ‌have‌ ‌heard‌ ‌of‌ ‌HIIT.‌ ‌But‌ ‌what‌ ‌does‌ ‌this‌ ‌acronym‌ ‌mean, and how could it help you?

A woman working out with battle ropes.

What does HIIT stand for?

Well, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. This involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by another period or interval, that's less intense. Because its definition is so broad, almost any aerobic workout can be made into a HIIT one. A common workout is 60 seconds cycling on a spin bike at high speed and resistance, followed by 90 seconds at a lower speed and resistance.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

HIIT is great for those who don't have much time for workouts; a full-body HIIT session can take as little as 20 minutes. There are also proven health benefits -  HIIT has been proven to boost heart health quicker than other forms of exercise. It does this by improving your VO2 max, a measurement of the maximum volume of oxygen your body can use. A higher VO2 max means it takes you longer to feel out of breath and can exercise for longer, lowering your risk of heart disease. 

Is HIIT good for weight loss?

Unfortunately, HIIT isn't as good when it comes to helping you lose weight. Many regimes tout an 'afterburn effect ' - where you continue to burn calories after a workout - but this often doesn't last long. If you're looking for consistent weight loss, don't rely on HIIT alone to get you there. 

Getting started with HIIT

If you do decide to take up HIIT training, make sure to start with shorter classes that are tailored to your skill level. That means you'll get the most out of that half-hour of work!