If you are taking the time to get your body in shape, you want to milk that workout for all it’s worth, and High-Intensity Interval Training offers the best bang for your buck both in and out of the gym. Here’s what it means to the millions of HIIT addicts out there and how starting your own HIIT practice may affect you.  

A Quick Primer on High Intensity Interval Training 

HIIT is the general term for workouts that involve short blocks of intense exercise followed by blocks of recovery. Exercises may be primarily cardiovascular in nature, such as running or cycling; a session may also involve lifting weights, or some combination of both.  

The critical aspect is to raise your heart rate to peak level and then bring it back down in preparation for your next high intensity burst. This is what causes the higher calorie burn than other more steady-state endurance activities.  

HIIT Addicts Burn Calories for Hours after Workouts 

HIIT workouts produce what’s known as the “afterburn effect,” where your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate than it would normally for some time after your training session. Scientists refer to this effect as “excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC.  

Strenuous bursts of activity send your body into overdrive as it continuously attempts to restore itself to a resting metabolic state. To get there, it needs ample oxygen which it derives by burning more calories. The more oxygen you consume, the longer the afterburn effect will last.  

In other words, HIIT addicts will continue burning extra calories even when kicking their feet up hours after the workout is over.  

Less Fat, Larger Muscles 

Burning all those extra calories throughout the day helps facilitate a caloric deficit, which is critical for anyone looking to lose weight. But HIIT workouts aren’t necessarily about losing weight for everyone. Many beginners are more interested in losing fat.  

Because your body needs so much oxygen to recover from high intensity intervals, it will seek out all available energy resources. When the carb tank runs low, it will seek out available fat reserves for the energy it needs. Even before you start seeing muscle mass gains, the burning of body fat may begin to reveal more definition. 

HIIT workouts are also great muscle-builders, even for beginners. Why? High intensity intervals by their very nature are based on short, explosive movement. Think: sprinting, jumping, and quick deep squats. These movements activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for muscle growth and strength.  

Better Breathing, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar 

HIIT workouts can help improve the typical markers of health that your doctor looks at during an annual physical.  

Increased Aerobic Endurance 

Because this type of training pushes your heart and breathing rate, HIIT lovers improve their aerobic capacity over time. Greater stamina and endurance mean not simply better workouts, but everyday tasks become easier. Taking the stairs, parking farther away, and even walking to your destinations are suddenly options you might have avoided in the past.  

Lower Blood Pressure 

High blood pressure is a common health concern that many people treat with medication. But it is possible to lower the numbers with HIIT exercise. Simply put, regular exercise makes the heart stronger so that it can pump more blood with less effort. As a result, the force on the arteries decreases lowering blood pressure. 

For those whose stiff arteries are to blame for their high blood pressure, regular cardiovascular activity can actually improve the blood vessels’ ability to expand and contract thereby lowering their BP reading over time.  

Reduction in Blood Sugar 

HIIT workouts boost the metabolism and reduce blood sugar levels, meaning they can even help those at risk of Type-2 Diabetes. When adults worked HIIT routines into their daily life they also experienced improved insulin resistance so that their bodies didn’t need to overcompensate and increase blood sugar levels. Keeping those blood sugar levels lower is key to preventing diabetes. 

Brains and Brawn 

If it’s not clear by now that HIIT is a game-changer for your body, please go back and review. (It’s amazing.) If we’re good, now you’re ready to learn about the positive impact this work has on your brain health.  

It’s pretty well understood by everyone how brains release a flood of endorphins during any workout, but HIIT workouts take our brain activity to an even higher level. Once again, the secret lies in the intensity of the training session. 

A burst of intense exercise as short as 6 minutes may produce Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF is a protein that promotes neuroplasticity and the creation of new neurons. In other words, BDNF helps you create more brain cells, which in turn not only helps with continued learning, but it also helps stave off the cognitive decline associated with aging.  

Get Fit Even as a Beginner 

HIIT workouts need to be high-intensity, not necessarily high-impact. And definitely not complicated. If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey, it doesn’t matter how heavy your weights, how many reps you can do are or how fast you can move. All that matters is that you reach your high intensity level in timed intervals you can meet. Your only standard for comparison is YOU. 

Guided HIIT workouts are an excellent option for beginners. Follow the lead of an experienced fitness trainer who can demonstrate exercises, provide modifications, and help you keep up with the fittest people in class— on your terms. Soon, you will be an expert! 

Begin Your HIIT Addiction at Body Machine Fitness 

Body Machine Fitness offers HIIT classes 7 days a week. Here, we’ve taken all the benefits of a standard HIIT class and amped it up with heart-pumping music, synced-up light shows, stellar equipment, and inspiring fitness coaches. The unique combination unlocks an experience that HIIT workouts at home or the gym simply can’t compete with.  

The BMF experience unleashes a DOSE of good feelings in a completely immersive experience. The result is a flood of: 

  • Dopamine 
  • Oxytocin 
  • Serotonin  
  • Endorphins 

We predict that when class is over, you will be already craving your next one. If you’re curious about starting your own HIIT fitness addiction, join us for your first FREE group fitness class in Fort Worth or Plano.