High intensity interval training: is HIIT right for you?

High Intensity Interval Training - or HIIT - has emerged as a popular fitness trend in Australia. Sam Wood breaks down the benefits of the workout to help you discover if it's the right one for you.

With so many fitness fads and trends out there, you'll be pleased to know HIIT - high intensity Interval training - is a type of workout that is in the limelight for all the right reasons.

HIIT is a type of training that has recently gained popularity for its health benefits and is often labelled the most effective workout. In my opinion, this is absolutely true. 

So what is HIIT and why is it so effective?

Like the name suggests, HIIT is hard. It’s intense and, in my experience, it works.

This type of interval training involves repeated short bursts of high intensity exercise combined with low intensity recovery periods. This mix of workout bursts and rests is great for cardio conditioning and delivers a strong calorie burn.

Related: The simple 7-minute workout you can do anywhere

The key reason why HIIT is so effective is because it leads to excess post-oxygen consumption, also known as EPOC. EPOC elevates your resting metabolic rate for 24 hours or more after you’ve finished your training session - meaning, it helps your body burn fat.

Basically, HIIT will help you achieve results in all the right places. Benefits include improved muscle tone, increased fat burning potential, improved strength, greater endurance and increased cardiovascular fitness. Even better - you can reap these benefits in a shorter period of time than most other workouts.

Should I do HIIT?

Before you get on the HIIT bandwagon, take a couple of minutes to consider these key points:

  • ‘High intensity’ is relative and what is high intensity for someone else might not be high intensity for you. In general, high intensity means working at 90 per cent of your total capacity. Remember, your 9/10 effort may be very different to that of an 18-year-old athlete or a  55-year-old getting back into exercise.
  • It’s also important to ask yourself, ‘are these movements right for my body?’ Make sure there are advancements and easier alternatives for all movements in your workout before jumping headfirst into a one-size-fits all option. When it comes to HIIT - this isn’t always the case. Listen to your body, know your capabilities and go from there.

How often should I do HIIT?

You don’t need to do HIIT every day to achieve results. In fact, it’s probably best you don’t do it every day!

Everyone needs some Yin to their Yang to ensure they find that perfect balance and allow their bodies time to recover in their overall workout routine. Make sure you keep it balanced and don't go too hard, too fast.

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