HIIT - What is it?

High Intensity Interval Training!

It's all the rage at the moment, and for good reason.
You've probably seen HIIT being thrown around on blog posts, transformation challenges and photos here and there, and you've probably wondered, what is it and how does it work?
I'm going to give you a quick basic run down to help you understand it, and love it!

What is it?
High intensity interval training is exactly what it sounds like. It's hard, it's fast and it incorporates multiple exercises to get the most out of a short amount of time. It's guaranteed to leave you with an incredibly high heart rate, huffing puffing and sweating the whole way to the shower.
It involves multiple exercises performed rapidly with very little rest in between. Majority of HIIT sessions will be made up of somewhere between 8-12 exercises, each being smashed out for 30 - 60 seconds with less than a 10 second rest before the next. During these sessions you should be working at around 80% of your full capacity - AKA push yourself to your limits!

HIIT sessions need to be carefully planned, and worked in a specific order to allow the body to function in the best possible way while avoiding injury. In a normal training session we would allow ourselves between 30-90 second rest between sets, especially when focusing on a single muscle group. Due to the lack of rest periods in this form of exercise, it's best to work opposing muscle groups one after the other while alternating, rather than overworking a specific area of the body.
For example, Push ups followed by squats, rather than squats followed by lunges.

What are the benefits?
1. It's timely! HIIT sessions are definitely for people who 'don't have the time to workout' and extremely effective for those of you who just don't love spending hours in the gym. Essentially with this type of high intensity exercise you are going to feel like you've been working out for hours, when realistically you might have only been going for up to 10 minutes.
2. It's effective in burning fat (specifically abdominal and subcutaneous fat)! High intensity training has been researched countlessly and has been proven to increase energy expenditure. Therefore we know that it will increase metabolism, shed fat and burn more calories than steady state exercise.
3. You don't need a gym, just your body weight! The easiest way to perform a HIIT session is with body weighted exercises like squats, push ups, burpees, high knee's and lunges.
4. Like cardio, high intensity sessions have been proven to be great for cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease.