How High Intensity Interval Training Changed My Life, Physique and Outlook on Fitness

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you get into mountain biking (or any cycling) you will hear a lot of people talk about interval training and how amazing it is to get into shape. But what is it and why is it so effective? To help answer that I asked one my regular contributors to tell his own experiences of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Let me cut to the chase: Getting in shape and losing weight was something that I had struggled with most of my life.

From the time I was a kid, I envisioned myself growing up and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone in their action-packed movies.

Over time, I started to engage in lifting weights, counting my calories, eating protein and cutting back on the carbohydrates that I consumed. Although my body began to change shape and muscles started lining my biceps, I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.

Sure, I had a baseline of muscle that I had built over the years, but I wasn’t as lean as my role models. After struggling with hours of mind-numbing cardio, I stumbled across a system that would drastically change my physique — high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Below are the reasons why I now suggest the HIIT framework to my friends and colleagues when they begin their fitness journey.

The High Intensity Interval Training Effect Lasts Longer Than Traditional Cardio

One of the things that really stood out for me when starting HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) was how it burned fat hours after I had completed my session.

With traditional, low-intensity, steady-state cardio (LISS), you’re only burning calories during the moments where you’re actually on the machine. With High Intensity Interval Training, I found that I would still feel the burn late into the night after completing my session earlier that day.

This effect´s name is the ‘after burn‘ and it influences your metabolism to work with optimal efficiency up to twenty-four hours after you’ve completed the workout.

Imagine a world where you can burn off breakfast calories while lying down for the night — with High Intensity Interval Training you can!

It’s Time Efficient

Another brilliant thing that HIIT provides is the small duration window in which you can complete a session.

For most of us, sitting on a treadmill for an hour while watching television sounds like a mild version of torture. With High Intensity Interval Training, you can complete a session in as little as ten or fifteen minutes.

Don’t have enough time in your day on account of a busy work schedule or personal life? Not a problem! HIIT can be a quick way to start the day and burn calories while you’re on the go.

The way that the you achieve smaller duration window is through moments of all-out intensity and then a small window appears where we can relax.

We repeat this process of intensity and leisure for ten or fifteen minutes.

Although this may sound too easy to be effective, millions of people around the globe are using High Intensity Interval Training to drastically improve their health and lose weight with ease.

Losing Weight Becomes Fun

When we begin to prepare our bodies for beach season, we often grunt and groan thinking about the upcoming events that are about to take place.

We regularly have a nightmarish vision of cutting calories, practicing discipline with our gym routine and avoiding any activities that involve alcohol — no fun!

With High Intensity Interval Training, getting your cardio session in becomes something that you actively look forward to because you know it’s short, sweet and to the point.

In my personal experience, I often avoided my workout in the morning because I didn’t want to sit on a stationary bike for an hour as the sun began to rise.

Instead, I used HIIT early in the morning before work in the comfort of my own home. I never had an instance where I avoided the workout because I knew it would be completed before I even realized it.

For most readers, the thought of exercising being exciting may sound odd, but it’s true!

Customize Your Routine

HIIT encourages that users find their own way of breaking a sweat instead of following what everyone else is doing.

For me, I incorporated burpees, jumping jacks, jogging in place and followed it up by walking around my apartment for a short window of rest. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, that’s OK! Change and adapt the routine to fit your personality type and what challenges you the most.

A brief list of exercises that you can perfom in the all-out window of an High Intensity Interval Training session can be found below:

  • Burpees
  • Body-weight squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Push ups
  • Pistol squats
  • Treadmill sprints
  • Full-effort elliptical usage
  • Battle ropes
  • Medicine ball slams
  • Circuit training
  • Wall sits

HGH Boost

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone that makes many people feel uncomfortable.

For most readers, when they hear the term HGH they think about an athlete that got caught using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. But the news is out: we’re all on HGH! That’s right, each of us — men and women — naturally produce this hormone in varying amounts on a daily basis.

The hormone is naturally produced by the pituitary gland in all humans and plays a critical role in bone density, height, musculature and heart health.

When we perform grueling High Intensity Interval Training sessions, we can actively produce more HGH for our body to grow quality muscle, burn fat and maintain normality within its biological mechanisms.

A study released by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that a simple, thirty-second sprint performed on a treadmill boosted human growth hormone within the test subject by over 400%.

Moreover, the study goes on to show that test subjects had better blood pressure scores, lower resting heart rates and an elevated mood throughout the day.

Blood Sugar Regulation

When I started performing my HIIT sessions, I discussed it with a family friend that suffered with diabetes. Although HIIT will not cure diabetes, it helps individuals regulate their blood sugar more efficiently throughout their waking hours.

After a few sessions my friend began to notice the side effects of his type-2 diabetes becoming less of a burden.

A study performed by Kari Kalliokoski — a researcher at the University of Turku — found that test subjects who were prediabetic and had type-2 diabetes were able to improve their glucose sensitivity and thwart off the side effects of insulin resistance.

After a duration of two weeks, test subjects showcased regularity in their glucose metabolism contained within their lower extremities.

Is High Intensity Interval Training Your Solution?

If you don´t want of struggle with your weight, or you simply want a different approach to building lean muscle, HIIT seems like the logical choice. The scientific data suggests that the benefits extend into our personal lives as well as the gym.

Additionally, it’s not hard to perform! Simply devote ten or fifteen minutes each day to tackle a challenging workout.

Even though this habit may seem too good to be true, it will revolutionize your physique and improve your health tenfold.

Try the HIIT framework out today and watch your body change in a short period of time!