Gone are the days of spending hours in the gym, as the latest fitness craze, high intensity interval training (HIIT), promises to deliver the same results in half the time. The workout is designed to raise your heart rate with periods of intense exercise, followed by short rest breaks or less vigorous activities.
HIIT workout sessions can last between four and 30 minutes, but as you're required to put in maximum effort, you finish feeling just as you would if you had put in a couple of hours at the gym. But what are the benefits and disadvantages of HIIT? We look at the pros and cons...
HIIT workouts can last between four and 30 minutes
Pros and benefits of HIIT
It's time efficient
As HIIT sessions are so short they're perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. Whilst you may not have time to make your way to the gym, everyone has a spare few minutes that they can dedicate to working out.
You burn more fat
As the body is being exerted fully its repair cycle ramps up to match this, meaning you can burn more fat in a shorter space of time.
It can be done anywhere
Although you can incorporate weights and machinery into your workout, no equipment is required, so you can easily exercise at home. Doing exercises like push-ups, burpees and lunges means you're only working against your own body weight.
It can increase your metabolism
Research has shown that the stimulation of the human growth hormone can rise by up to 450 per cent after a HIIT workout, which in turn speeds up your metabolism.
Working out a speed could impact your form leading to injury
Cons of HIIT
It's not suitable for everyone
As HIIT training is so intense you must already have a basic level of fitness to take part. If you're not used to exercising the workout could cause undue stress on your heart.
It can cause dizziness
If you're alternating between standing and sitting at speed your blood pressure can drop quickly, making you feel dizzy. If this happens you should take a break until you feel ready to continue.
It can leave your muscles feeling sore
Whilst the exercises are only brief, because you're working at such a high intensity you can end up overexerting yourself and can run the risk of damaging your muscles.
There's a higher risk of injury
As you're moving at such a fast speed your form may not be correct on some of the exercises, so make sure you know how to position yourself. If in doubt, ask a personal trainer or a member of gym staff for advice.