HIIT is a fitness trend that has lasted for a while now, and for good reason – expert Centr trainer Ashley Joi explains why HIIT should be your top priority if fat burning (and endorphin-boosting!) is your goal.
With a new workout trend every minute, sometimes we can forget about the tried and tested methods. But don’t ignore HIIT – that is, High Intensity Interval Training – there’s a reason it’s so popular, and not just for cardio lovers like me!
I get it, having the word ‘intensity’ in the name can be intimidating! But, there’s a reason HIIT is a trend that’s lasted.
If you’re new to HIIT, I’ll break it down for you. During the working phase (when you’re doing an exercise), you go absolutely full out, you know that rest is right around the corner so you’ve got to put max effort in. Then, you get time to catch your breath and rest your muscles in your ‘rest’ or ‘active recovery’ phase.
The length of work and rest phases is different in every workout – for example 30:30, 40:20, or 45:15. You can adjust the rest period and work to your fitness level and how quickly you recover. It’s not about trying to keep up this intensity for hours because that’s how you’ll either burn out, get injured, or slow your intensity. With the right exercises even a 15 minute HIIT session can get your heart rate up and burn calories!
The whole idea of HIIT is – you guessed it – INTENSITY! If you can have a conversation with your friend or trainer while you’re working, you probably have more to give.
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How to get the best results from a HIIT workout
The secret to getting results is working at around 75-90 percent of your maximum effort for the working phase to get your body into that fat burning zone. Putting your heart rate at that level forces your body to adapt to the demands of the workout and pushes your metabolic response – which is why you see such an awesome fat burning benefit from HIIT, and why we’ve structured Centr’s new program – Centr 6: Phase II – around this style of workout.
Beyond fat loss, HIIT also helps strengthen your cardiovascular system and improves your strength and your muscles’ endurance – and lets not forget about the brain benefits! The old saying ‘if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you’ is true for both your brain and body when it comes to your workouts. Pushing yourself and conquering a tough session makes you feel strong, powerful and like you can do anything – and who wouldn’t want that? With the endorphins you get from cardio, a HIIT session sets you up for a great day.
But that’s not all. After your workout – yes, after, when you’re simply going about your day – your metabolism is still responding to the intensity of your session, burning more fuel to restore the body back to a pre-workout state even a long time after you’ve finished your session.
HIIT is a flexible workout
The last benefit of HIIT that I want to touch on is CONVENIENCE. The best workout routine is one you can stick to, and now more than ever having the flexibility of being able to work out from literally anywhere can be an amazing motivator.
Most HIIT sessions require very little space and equipment, focusing mostly on bodyweight exercises or adding some basic equipment like dumbbells.
HIIT sessions aren’t easy, but they’re not supposed to be! If you’re getting back into routine keep sessions short, give yourself enough time to rest between sessions, and track your progress – you’ll be amazed at how quickly you see results in your body, and in what you can do!
Ashley Joi is a trainer on Chris Hemsworth’s health and fitness app Centr, and is one of the lead trainers on Centr’s new six week program Centr 6: Phase II.