High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that alternates short periods of intense exercise with periods of recovery. It offers many benefits, from improving your cardiovascular health, endurance and overall fitness level to burning more fat and calories per minute than steady-state exercises like jogging or cycling. This means you can get maximum fat-burning results in less time, making HIIT a great option for fitting quick workouts into your busy schedule.
“HIIT is good for burning fat because it burns a lot of calories in a short period of time and increases the amount of calories you burn post workout to repair and restore your body,” says Nate Feliciano, owner and head of training at Studio 16 in New York City. That post-workout afterburn is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC) and refers to the amount of oxygen needed to restore your body back to normal. That level increases after a HIIT workout, so your body keeps burning calories in the hours after you’ve finished exercising.
HIIT FOR BEGINNERS
“For beginners, HIIT may be intimidating,” says Feliciano, “but HIIT does not need to be one size fits all. There are many ways to modify the exercises used in your HIIT routine to accommodate your fitness level.” So, even if you’re new to fitness, interval training offers enough variety and adaptability that you’ll be able to find something that works for your body.
Because interval training is so effective at burning calories, it’s common to see quicker results when doing HIIT than many other disciplines. You still need to exercise regularly (and eat a healthy diet) for long-term results, but dropping a few pounds or noticing cardio improvements are great incentives to keep working toward your goals.
Beginners should be especially vigilant when it comes to warming up and cooling down. Warming up before your workout is essential to prepare your body for movement and prevent injury. Similarly, cooling down after your workout can help to lower your heart rate and loosen tight muscles.
TWO FAT-BURNING HIIT WORKOUTS TO TRY
Feliciano provides two beginner-friendly workouts below, one featuring equipment (kettlebells and battle ropes) and one that requires nothing more than your own body weight. Mix one or both workouts into your exercise routine twice a week, and see how HIIT can help you achieve the results you want.
Check out “Workout Routines” in the MyFitnessPal app to discover and log workouts or build your own with exercises that fit your goals.