The Benefits of HIIT training | Your questions answered
Many of our members use HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) regularly as part of their workout routine, for cardio and for the other wonderful health benefits HIIT training gives them. We get a lot of questions at our HIIT classes around the benefits of HIIT: What is HIIT training exactly? What’s a HIIT workout look like? What are the advantages of interval training?
So, let’s talk HIIT training. We’ll take you through the key HIIT workout benefits in detail and explain why so many of our members choose high intensity training for cardio, weight loss, maintaining good mental health and much more.
Firstly, what does HIIT stand for?
HIIT meaning: HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is probably the most efficient cardio workout you can give your body. It’s quick, it’s intense (as the name would suggest), and it’s hard work. But, you’re in and out of your HIIT class in no time having completed a full-body exercise session focussed on cardio but with so many other benefits.
What is High Intensity Interval Training exactly?
HIIT training is really flexible. While the specific exercises you do during a HIIT class are important, the main benefit of HIIT training comes from the combination of the ‘intensity’ and the ‘intervals’. It can be any exercise (ideally using your full body) that alternates between intense bursts of activity followed by fixed periods of rest or moderate, less intense activity.
So whether it’s a quick 10 minute HIIT training session or a 30 minute HIIT workout, the time is divided into those intense bursts and rests. For example, you might do something as simple as 20 seconds of jumping jacks followed by 10 seconds of rest.
Why do people choose HIIT training?
Minimal time in, maximum results out
Did you know that a quick HIIT training session can give you similar benefits to a much longer endurance session like running or cycling? It’s the intensity of HIIT training that means people keep coming back to HIIT class – it’s efficient! The intensity means that HIIT training is hard work, but a HIIT class is therefore also quick.
So, HIIT training is perfect for those of us with a busy schedule – so if you don’t have time to do a full workout at the gym, a HIIT class could be the quick burst of intensity training your body will appreciate. Even just a 5 minute HIIT workout that gets your heartrate pumping will be worth doing if you can squeeze it in.
The HIIT classes at Studio Society are formatted into efficient and succinct high-energy sessions that mean you stay focussed until the bitter end.
HIIT is anything but boring
Another one of the benefits of interval training is its variety. Because the focus on HIIT training is the intensity, the specific exercises chosen can really vary. So, you can change it up from workout to workout. While activities or classes like Spin can give you a really great workout, we understand that they can sometimes get a little tedious if you’re doing them regularly. High Intensity Interval Training can always be kept interesting with changing up the exercises, the reps, and the length of time you’re working and resting. Plus, depending on which instructor you get on any given day, the routine they take you through will differ.
The variety of HIIT means that you can keep on challenging yourself in new and interesting ways.
HIIT workout for weight loss | Does HIIT burn fat?
Is HIIT cardio? Absolutely! By pushing your body to meet the demands of the heart’s maximum rate, HIIT is renowned for burning lots of calories and fat. And you might be interested to know that during a High Intensity Interval Training session, you will probably burn more calories than most other cardio exercises. That’s because for those intense bursts of activity, you’re putting your whole body into it. The resting intervals allow your body to recover and get ready for the next burst.
Then, the aftereffects of the HIIT training continue throughout the day. As HIIT increases your resting metabolic rate, your body will continue to burn calories after the workout has finished. And, the effect of the intense exertion on your body means that it will be repairing itself within the 24 hours after your workout. So, that fat burning HIIT workout will mean even more calories being burned after your HIIT class or personal HIIT training session.
So, is HIIT good for weight loss? Yes – in fact, it’s one of the first classes we would recommend for shedding a few pounds. HIIT workouts for weight loss are challenging, but they’re also one of the most value for effort workouts you can choose. This is why so many of our members choose HIIT for fat loss.
If you are taking on regular HIIT for weight loss purposes, just remember that this should always be combined with a healthy and balanced diet that gives you enough calories for fuelling your body sufficiently for your training.
HIIT for muscle mass | Does HIIT build muscle?
Some cardio does seem to encourage muscle loss, but that’s found with ‘steady-state’ cardio, where you’re working at a more consistent pace throughout your session. HIIT training (along with weight training) on the other hand will allow you to preserve any muscle building you’re doing alongside your cardio training. To preserve your muscle gain, you want to make sure that any weight loss through calorie burning comes from your body’s fat stores, which HIIT training is perfect for.
So while HIIT training is not the most effective way to build muscle, it offers potential benefits to achieve that sculpted look you might be going for. It’s a great choice of cardio to add to your routine alongside any muscle building activity.
HIIT weight training: Because High Intensity Interval Training is flexible in terms of the kind of exercises you choose (it’s all about those bursts of activity and the rests between them), you can use weights and resistance as part of your HIIT training routine. HIIT weight training is a great way to tone up and maintain muscle mass alongside the cardio benefits of HIIT.
HIIT for mind | Can HIIT help maintain good mental health?
We’re all aware that regular exercise is important for our wellbeing – both our physical health and our mental health. Cardio exercises like running, swimming, cycling or HIIT are proven to help ward off anxiety and depression. Taking care of both body and mind is essential for a balanced and healthy life and being able to manage stress and whatever else gets in our way on a daily basis.
Joining any regular class adds some structure and consistency to your life – which is sometimes much easier said than done in the often chaotic world we live in. Plus, there’s the social element of joining a class like one of our HIIT classes. Seeing the same friendly faces at your regular HIIT class can only be a good thing. You never know, your class might help make you some new friends as well as keep your fitness at the level you want.
With HIIT training being the quick burst of activity that it is, there’s no excuse not to squeeze in even 1 or 2 HIIT classes or personal HIIT sessions a week to help maintain a healthy routine of exercise. Doing this alongside other healthy habits will only have a positive effect on your mental (and physical, of course) health.
HIIT for sleep | How does HIIT help us get a good night’s sleep?
We’re all aware of just how essential a proper night’s sleep is. If you’re looking into High Intensity Interval Training for its weight loss benefits, just remember that quality sleep is a big part of maintaining weight loss. The fact you’re on this page at all demonstrates that you care about your health, so sleep should be high on your agenda as well as exercise.
In modern life, we are spending much less time outdoors and for many people, much less time even moving around. We mightn’t even be leaving the house on a regular basis anymore. And, we often don’t respect our natural circadian rhythm by getting sunlight into our eyes and onto our skin first thing in the mornings. The way we live today can really affect our sleep – both in terms of how quickly we fall asleep and the quality of the night’s sleep we are getting.
By exercising on a regular basis with a cardio activity like HIIT, we are putting our bodies under physical stress which is one of the things we need to get a good night’s sleep. Letting off some steam in this way during the day is associated with a better quality of sleep at night. And, if you work out in the mornings, you might be glad to know that getting up and out first thing in the morning keeps our circadian rhythm on track – meaning our body is ready for sleep again by the time we fall into bed in the evenings. Fitting in a quick HIIT class or personal HIIT training session before work in the mornings, or whatever you have on in the day, can really set you up for better and more consistent sleep.
Just remember, high intensity training later on in your evenings should probably be avoided. That’s because vigorous exercise like HIIT will get your heart pumping and you could find it difficult to get to sleep in that worked-up state. One of the advantages of interval training is that it energises you – so instead, try to fit your HIIT training in earlier on in the day so that it pumps you up for the day ahead.
HIIT for ageing | Does HIIT training keep us young?
HIIT training can help keep us young, or at least higher functioning older people.
The advice for middle age used to be ‘Slow down’, ‘Rest up’, ‘Take it easy’. Fifty-somethings were expected to start taking it easy as they begin entering later stages of life. But, physical decline is not something you should come to expect as you age. We know now how to manage our ageing – and the fundamentals are that we need to stay active to maintain a healthy heart and a strong body. Getting older does not necessarily getting weaker, and it is never too late to pick up a new exercise to gain physical strength. In fact, you will really thank yourself for it in a few years’ time.
HIIT training for ageing: In ageing science, the evidence supports that we should do High Intensity Interval Training every week. To get the good of the work out, we should be getting our heart rate up to at least 80% of its maximum – that’s getting your heart rate up to the point where you can really feel it. You should be at your limit and it will feel fairly unpleasant, but the joy of HIIT training is that you can get a really worthwhile HIIT training session out of the way in anything from 10 to 30 minutes. So even relatively brief periods of high intensity training should have a positive affect on your ageing and with 30 minute classes or even shorter personal sessions, there are no excuses to not fitting a HIIT in alongside a busy work or family life.
Strength training for ageing: Many symptoms of ageing are linked to decreased hormone levels, and testosterone in particular. The less testosterone your body is producing, the harder it is for it to retain and build skeletal muscle (skeletal muscle is all the muscle that is not part of your circulatory system or digestive tract). Skeletal muscle burns a lot of calories, and as you start to get older, you lose some of that muscle and your metabolism slows down. With your metabolism slowing down, the calories you consume are more likely to end up as fat. Fat secretes the hormone oestrogen and proteins that promote chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.
HIIT training will help maintain muscle mass. Any other weight or strength training in general is a good idea to build and help maintain the muscle all over your body – that’s whatever stage of life you are at.
So, if you want to stave off the relentless process that is getting older, a combination of regular HIIT training along with building and maintaining muscle with strength training, can only be a good thing.
Evidence also shows that HIIT helps with preventing stiffness. Muscles become less rigid with regular high intensity training and people start to lose that stiffness felt in the mornings or after long periods of sitting or standing.
HIIT and the Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced by the body during childhood and adolescence to help us grow and develop into adulthood. As we get older, our levels of HGH start to decrease. It’s this happening that means we start to notice our hair and nails not being quite as healthy as they used to be.
HIIT helps stimulate the production of HGH by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. So not only will HIIT help to keep your heart healthy and help keep you in shape, but it’s a great way to help keep you looking younger for longer too.
Do you need equipment for HIIT training?
No! On a practical note, one of the key benefits of HIIT training is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. Whether you’re in a HIIT class at one of our studios, at the gym, in the park or in your own flat, you can fit a HIIT workout in. If you do have weights, great – try combining HIIT weight training with cardio-focussed exercises like burpees or jumping jacks. Or, use your own body weight for resistance with bodyweight squats or ski jumps.
Because a lot of HIIT training can be done almost anywhere, you can use the opportunity to get yourself outside and get some fresh air. By exercising outside, the skin can absorb essential vitamin D from the sun, which helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth – as well as having a positive effect on your sleep.
Cycling, skipping or running are all great options for HIIT training if you’re working out outside of the gym. But as long as you’re getting your heart rate up, you’ll be reaping the benefits of HIIT.
Why are our HIIT classes different?
We offer a range of HIIT classes across our immersive, sensory studios so you can choose a HIIT class that focusses on your needs whether that be HIIT Blast, HIIT Warrior, HIIT Strength or HIIT Bootcamp. They each have the right environment – beats, visuals, lights and even scents – to get you motivated and in the zone.