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High Intensity Interval Training and How It Can Benefit You

High Intensity Interval Training and How It Can Benefit You

High intensity interval training (HIIT) became popular for training athletes during the early 1950’s when Emil Zatopek, an Olympic champion long distance runner, won the 1952 Helsinki Olympic 10,000m race after utilising HIIT. This method of training comprises of repeated short to long exertions of relatively high- intensity exercises alternated with recovery periods of rest or low- intensity exercise. An example of this could be doing a 1-minute sprint followed by a 2-minute walk and then repeated.


The basic idea of HIIT is that there is greater volume of higher intensity exercise during one session compared to the energy expenditure of a single workout. High intensity interval training allows for tailored routines that suit the individuals needs and can be use in most exercise settings. Additionally, it doesn’t have to incorporate equipment which means that it really can be done anywhere and at any time, including the home. One proposed reason as to why it is so beneficial is that HIIT increases aerobic capacity and thus delays the onset of exhaustion. This improved aerobic capacity slows the depletion of anaerobic fuel stores delaying time to exhaustion.


So, what are the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training??


Cardiovascular improvements

Cardiovascular relates to the circulatory system including the heart and blood vessels. This network carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them. Improving cardiovascular fitness can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by increasing the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The easier it is to pump blood through your body, the less taxing it is on your heart.


Burns high calories

High intensity interval training allows for a large number of calories to be burned in one session compared to other training disciplines. One study compared the calories burned for 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running and biking. The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise. In this study, a HIIT routine consisted of 20 seconds of maximal effort, followed by 40 seconds of rest. This means that the participants were actually only exercising for 1/3 of the time that the running and biking groups were.


Increases metabolic rate for a longer period after workout

Metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body burns while it’s at rest. Studies have found that HIIT workouts do a great job of increasing your metabolic rate for hours after you’ve completed the exercise. One study found that just two minutes of HIIT in the form of sprints increased metabolism over 24 hours as much as 30 minutes of running. 


Improves oxygen consumption

Oxygen consumption refers to your muscles’ ability to use oxygen, and endurance training is typically used to improve your oxygen consumption. One study found that five weeks of HIIT workouts performed four days per week for 20 minutes each session improved oxygen consumption by 9%.


Can be done in a small amount of time

One of the great benefits of HIIT is that it doesn’t have to take large amounts of time to be benefited. Due to its high intensity, It can be completed in as little as 10 minutes. Therefore, its a great option for those who have busy schedules but see want to find a way to fit training into their day.


High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to make vast improvements on many areas of training. The high calories it burns can be a great way to lose fat and improve cardiovascular health.

If you’re looking to add HIIT to your workout routine, it can be fun and simple. Here’s a no equipment example you could try:


Warm up (5 Minutes)

  • 1-minute Jumping Jacks
  • 1-minute High Knees
  • 1-minute Steady arm circles
  • 1-minute alternating lunges
  • 1-minute Ankle holding stretch


  • 30 Second Jump squats
  • 30 Second plank
  • 30 second mountain climbers

1-minute rest

  • 30 second push ups (on knees if needed)
  • 30 seconds burpees
  • 30 second sprint on the spot

1-minute rest

  • 30 second wall sit
  • 30 second Triceps dips (use chair)
  • 30 second crunches

1-minute rest

Repeat 2-4 times

**It’s important to remember to stretch and cool down properly post workout to prevent injury.

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By Ella Orrock