The new way to get fit – fast
No time to work out? No worries. Hiit can get you fit in half the time, and anyone can do it, anywhere, writes Kate O’neill
YOU want to get fit, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sound familiar? Hiit could be your answer. Hiit is an increasingly popular style of exercise that involves short, high bursts of activity, followed by periods of rest. It’s an incredibly efficient way of getting many of the major benefits of exercise
“You don't have to work out as long – you can easily get a good workout within 20 minutes, compared to a low to medium intensity workout lasting the hour,” says Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre personal trainer, George Stevens.
“It's essentially half the time."
Recent studies have also shown Hiit to have more benefits for the body and be more effective than longer, low to medium intensity workouts. What's not to love?
How to do it
A Hiit workout can involve almost any form of exercise – short intense bursts on an exercise bike, a circuit class, rounds of push ups, star jumps, squats, hill sprints - as long as you're pushing yourself as hard as possible.
“On a scale of one to 10, where one is easy and 10 is so hard that you really can't keep it up, you really want to be working at a nine,” George says.
Typically, the periods of intensity last for about a minute, and are followed by two to three minutes rest, but this can vary.
Studies have shown pushing your heart rate up close to its maximum for these short period of time can have benefits for your body at a cellular level,
A Mayo Clinic study found Hiit seemed to change a cell's DNA in a way that boosted the muscle ability to produce energy. It also triggered the growth of new muscle, helping to counteract muscle loss that comes with ageing.
The after effects of a Hiit workout (including increased calorie burring) can last for up to two days.
“You get an EPOC, or Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption,” George says.
“When you're doing hard stuff, you’re not really using much oxygen, you're using blood glucose and energy stored in the muscles.”
“So for the next 12-24 hours when your recovering, your bodies oxygen demand is a lot higher – you’re catching up and you burn a lot more calories during rest for the next 24-48 hours.”
You also get less banging on the joints and accumulated stress because it's so short and sharp.
“It's fantastic for the body,” George says.
Who can do it?
Hiit is suitable for any age group.
Two to three times a week is enough. Make sure your workouts are not on consecutive days so your body has time to recover.
Can I do it at home?
Yes, you can do Hit anywhere. George recommends combining cardio with strength training if you’re doing it at home. You'll also find plenty of home Hiit workout ideas on the web, or if you need a bit of a push, look for a Hiit-style program at your local gym like circuit, RPM, boxing, Tabata or Les Mills Grit.
QUICK AND EFFECTIVE: Hiit is one of the most efficient ways of getting exercise, and can have more benefits than longer, low intensity workouts.