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Get Off The Couch, It’s Time To HIIT The Gym

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

What is HIIT style training exactly? HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This type of training incorporates cardio and strength exercises performed at different intensities, with structured patterns of work and rest periods. 

CrossFit, Orangetheory Fitness, and F45 are some of the most popular training programs that would fall under the HIIT umbrella. The combination of work/rest intervals and the variety of movements in these workouts allow people to hit a higher intensity than other training styles. The idea behind this level of intensity is to stress and strengthen specific energy pathways to fine-tune your body’s metabolic function. 

Before HIIT’s popularity, many gym-goers would do 45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical or treadmill while watching their favorite TV show and then follow that up with some strength training on a few cable machines. While any exercise routine is so much better than doing nothing, that specific approach lacks a level of intensity that most people need to hit if they are looking to optimize their health. 

Before we keep breaking down the benefits of HIIT, it is important to note that all exercise—even at low intensity—is good for our health. 

The beauty of HIIT workouts is that extreme results can be had from minimal time investment

But what if you want better than just ‘good’? What if you want the most efficient way to burn fat, increase strength, and improve metabolic function on a cellular level? That is where HIIT outperforms the rest. 

HIIT-style training usually incorporates compound movements like squats and lunges that involve multiple joints and muscle groups simultaneously. This automatically increases the bang you get for your buck in a single workout since you are using more of your body to get work done in a short time. Working at higher intensities also increases cardiovascular fitness, which will help your body get better at moving oxygen and nutrients to your muscle while also removing metabolic waste. 

This is why you will feel your fitness increasing and workouts getting more effortless if you do HIIT consistently. As you get fitter, you’ll be able to work harder when training over time, which means higher energy expenditure and more calories and fat burned. 

The nice thing about HIIT is that the high energy expenditure triggered by high-intensity training happens during your workout and continues after as well. This is commonly known as the afterburn effect, or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” if you want to be more formal about it. Whatever you call it, that just means your body will benefit from HIIT during and after your workout. 

The key takeaway? Any exercise is better than no exercise, but if you want a workout routine that packs a punch in terms of health benefits, energy expenditure, and efficiency, HIIT is the way to go

Who knew? Your crazy CrossFit friend might have been right all along.

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