TweetItís fair to say that, recently, the world has gone HIIT crazy. It seems as if everywhere you go, you're likely to see a new advert, book or a celebrity promoting their take on the HIIT workout. However, for many of us, this raises questions like the following:
Do HIIT workouts really work?
Isnít HIIT only for people who are already fit?
Do HIIT exercises really burn more fat?
Surely HIIT workouts are just bodyweight workouts?
What does HIIT stand for again?
Before we get into why HIIT can improve any gym routine, letís answer these questions:
Yes, HIIT workouts really work (feel free to check out why here).
No, one of the best things about HIIT is that anybody can do it, regardless of fitness levels.
Yes, HIIT can indeed burn more fat and there have been many studies undertaken to prove this.
No, HIIT can be done with gym equipment.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.
As the HIIT phenomenon grows in size, so do the misconceptions surrounding it. We will put one of the biggest to bed right now, namely that HIIT workouts merely consist of bodyweight exercises devised for the home. Many people are put off by this as they prefer to use machines or free weights in the gym. Well, the good news is that you can apply HIIT principles to combine both these two types of workout into one fantastic and very effective routine.
The point is that HIIT is not one strict way of exercising, but is based on the principle that a short intense workout can be better than a long and slow one. The misconception referred to above has arisen because the majority of people promoting this workout style, such as Joe Wicks of Instagram fame, are focusing on how you can do it at home. They are advertising it as more of a time saver. However, although you donít need a gym for HIIT workouts, it doesnít mean you canít do them in the gym. Whether you are a HIIT beginner or a pro, prefer cardio machines or free weights, we want to show you how incorporating a HIIT workout into your gym routine can boost your performance and give you fantastic results.
HIIT cardio machines
HIIT Workout with cardio machines
If you are someone who prefers running on treadmills, cycling on exercise bikes or feeling the burn on the cross trainer, then this section is for you, irrespective or whether you are a beginner or a fitness fanatic. If, when you go to the gym, you aim for the cardio machines, then your goal is most likely to be one of improved fitness and/or fat loss. The good news is that if this is indeed your goal, then adding a HIIT workout with these machines will help you reach your target quicker than ever before. If you are wondering just how HIIT is so effective in this respect, then check out our blog, which explains the science behind it.
Letís start with the best known cardio machine, the treadmill. Treadmills tend to divide opinion - as many love them as hate them. However if you try a HIIT workout on the treadmill, you might find you are loving it a whole lot more!
Instead of jogging or power walking for 30-40 minutes at a time, why not drastically shorten the time and increase your speed. By increasing the speed and doing a 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off run, for example, you'll finish quicker whilst simultaneously burning more fat and increasing your stamina. Depending on your fitness level you should only do this for 10-20 minutes at a time.
If you feel you can go on for longer, then try increasing the speed more and more until, at the end of your workout, you know you canít do anymore. Remember to go slowly at the beginning and find out what speed you are comfortable with, and then build from there. It is very tempting to throw yourself in at the deep end, but thatís how people end up on those Ďgym failí videos and nobody wants that!
You can apply this training principle to any of the cardio machines, from exercise bikes to rowing machines - all will facilitate a HIIT workout and allow you to burn more fat in less time. In case this sounds too good to be true, you need to bear in mind that HIIT workout routines are not for the faint-hearted - they are tough, sweaty and, as the name suggests, intense. Always remember to build up slowly, take breaks when you need them and drink plenty of water.
HIIT with weights
HIIT Workout with weights
If you canít stand the thought of getting on a treadmill or exercise bike, but like the thought of getting fitter and losing some weight, then combining HIIT with free weights and strength equipment could be the perfect option for you.
One of the best things about using resistance machines or weights at the gym is the amount of freedom you have with them. There are so many different variations of exercises, that you should take the time to find some that you enjoy and benefit from physically.
Many of us who use these machines at the gym are looking to increase strength and lower our body fat, but this is not easy to do. Combining HIIT with weighted exercise not only increases blood flow around the body, which is the key to muscle growth, but also burns more calories, thereby helping to lower your body fat.
The basics of a HIIT workout are always the same; namely, exercise for short, intense periods, rest and then repeat. Always plan ahead what exercises you are going to do and the number of circuits you intend to perform.
Here is a sample HIIT routine that is quick, simple and very effective as a full-body workout:
Dumbell Curls Ė perform as many as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
Shoulder Press Ė do as many as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
Barbell Squat Ė do as many as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
Bench Press Ė do as many as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
Bent Over Rows Ė do as many as possible in 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat the circuit 3-5 times and rest for 2 minutes between circuits.
This is just a guideline. Any exercises carried out in this manner will work, so take some time to find out what you enjoy doing most and discover what produces the best response in your body.
We'll leave you with this motivational thought: by adding a HIIT workout to your gym routine, you are going to experience fantastic changes to your stamina and body quicker than you may have thought possible!
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