High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is simply any form of exercise that creates an oxygen debt (breathing harder than normal) and takes only a few minutes max. Then a brief rest before the next exercise.
Good HIIT exercises include sprinting, weightlifting, pushups, lunges, treadmill… whatever you like that creates oxygen debt and only takes a few minutes max. Typical HIIT routines take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes total.
HIIT is known in both the fitness and medical communities as a highly effective exercise program. Benefits include improved cardiovascular/heart health, metabolic function, and fat-burning.
HIIT has been shown to stimulate muscle-building hormones and fat-burning hormones. HIIT can activate telomerase, a key anti-aging enzyme, and has been shown to help those with Type 2 Diabetes.
And of tremendous benefit in this time of lockdowns, HIIT can be done entirely in your home with no need for any equipment.
Of course, you should always seek the advice of a trained health professional before beginning a new exercise routine.
I learned in the last years of more than two decades of long-distance running that I had taught my body to store fat.
After 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, you’ve burned your supply of glycogen and then start burning fat. I always thought that was the goal.
Turns out my body is a lot smarter than I am. It knew that I burned fat for energy on my runs/races. So as soon as I finished running, my body would begin storing fat for my next run and burn glycogen and muscle for everyday activities.
I finally understood why I had a ring of fat around my waist even when training for a 50-mile ultramarathon.
HIIT burns glycogen for energy, so your body eventually figures it out and starts storing glycogen for your next workout, and burns fat for everyday activities.
When I switched to HIIT years ago, I immediately felt at least 20 years younger. I now work out 3 – 5 days a week, about 12-15 minutes a day. I’m stronger and more fit than I ever was when running. Can’t believe I resisted the research so long.
And honestly, you don’t even need the research if you are blessed with eyesight. Look at a typical Olympic sprinter and a typical Olympic marathoner. Who looks healthier? Dumb question, I know.
The sprinter is muscled like a racehorse. The marathoner is emaciated, skin and bone. How I ignored that reality for so long I don’t know.
Don’t get me wrong… I think world-class long-distance runners are the greatest athletes there are.
At my best, my PR was 5:25 for a single mile. It’s almost incomprehensible to me that a human could run 26 consecutive miles at a sub-5 minute pace.
I just believe it’s unhealthy.