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7 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

And why it needs to be part of your regular workout routine!

  1. It’s efficient.
    Super efficient HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule.  Classes are typically 30-45 minutes long so you are in an out before you know it!  And just two weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.
  2. You’ll burn more fat.
    Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyper drive.  That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after, say, a steady-pace run.
  3. You’ll build a healthier heart.
    Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (that lovely place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest).  But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results.  One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
  4. There’s no equipment necessary. 
    Running, biking, jump roping and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don’t actually need any equipment to get it done.  High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast.  To keep from getting bored, however, the Y’s HIIT Class utilizes resistance bands, dumbbells, medicine balls and boxes from time to time.
  5. You lose weight, not muscle.
    Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat.  While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of their weight lost comes from fat stores.  Win/win.
  6. You’ll increase your metabolism.
    In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout.  This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
  7. It’s seriously challenging.
    This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with a friend.  Because it’s short, you’ll be working hard the whole time.  The trade-off is this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results.  You may be sucking wind, but you definitely won’t be bored!