HIIT: How Does It Work And What Are The Benefits?

HIIT (otherwise known as High Intensity Interval Training) is a popular technique that alternates between intensive bursts of exercise at maximum capacity, and periods of recovery or rest. Essentially, the rest periods make it possible to train at higher intensity than normal. In a HIIT workout, your body actually works much harder than it would in a longer period of constant physical activity, producing faster results. It’s simple: push yourself to the max, rest, then push yourself all over again!

What’s the science behind it?

These high intensity periods of exercise generate lactic acid in your muscles and lower your body’s oxygen stores. That means your body has to work even harder to recover those levels in recovery periods. This process is called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Essentially, when you exercise at high intensity, your body continues working to return your body to its normal state, otherwise known as homeostasis, long after you’ve finished your session. In fact, it’s thought the process can go on for up to 24 hours after physical activity, meaning you could be burning calories whilst sitting at your desk after a morning training session!

What are the benefits of HIIT?

  1. Calorie burning
    In order to consume oxygen, which you do at a higher rate in HIIT training, your body needs energy, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. In fact, recent studies show that HIIT burns 25-30% more calories (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162652) than other forms of exercise - meaning you can always justify that hearty dinner afterwards!

  2. Up your endurance
    Regular HIIT training will boost your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy. This means you build up endurance quickly, meaning you can bear the intensity of those sprints or burpees for longer every time.

  3. Fat busting
    If you’re looking to lose some pounds, HIIT could be the workout for you. Thanks to the ‘afterburn’ of the EPOC effect already mentioned, you actually continue burning fat long after your session is done. HIIT increases your metabolic rate and burns calories fast - meaning it could be the key to achieving those weight loss goals.

  4. It’s time-efficient
    Due to the much higher intensity than other forms of exercise, a half hour HIIT session could produce similar results to an hour long run. That means you can exercise for less time, and see the same effects. A win-win situation that’s perfect for those of us with hectic lives wanting to keep in shape!

  5. Mix it up
    As our members can attest, HIIT take many different forms: boxing, running, squats, kettlebells, you name it. Anything that can be done in short, intense bursts can make up a HIIT training session, meaning HIIT never gets boring.

  6. Perfect for beginners
    Since HIIT workouts can start at just 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, they’re much easier to tolerate if you’re returning to exercise after a while, and much less intimidating for newcomers to fitness too. It’s a great place to start your journey to feeling fit and healthy.

One Element’s HIIT Approach
Our training sessions have been designed by our founder Tom Marien, with contributions from top sports and fitness coaches and athletes, incorporating HIIT approaches to give you more energy and quicker results, in a fun and sociable setting. Convinced? Sign up for a free trial at www.one-element.co.uk/free-trial.html and see if HIIT could be the workout you’ve been looking for.