Have you ever attended a high-intensity exercise class, or followed a Youtube workout in an effort to burn fat and lose weight? Did it leave you breathless and gasping for air even though you only worked out for a short period of time? Chances are, you were doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)! But what exactly is HIIT? And how effective is it in helping you in your health and fitness journey?
HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise carried out in short, rapid bursts with the intention of enhancing athletic performance while starving the muscles of oxygen. From fat burning and weight loss to improving muscular strength and endurance, the wide range of benefits HIIT offers makes it a great workout to incorporate into your training regimen, especially if you're short of time!
Want to give it a go? Here are 5 types of HIIT workouts you can try next time!
5 Types of HIIT
There are 2 exercises in a traditional TABATA workout. The first exercise is performed continuously for 20 seconds at the highest intensity you can manage, followed by a 10-second rest. The second exercise is then performed at the same intensity for 20 seconds before another 10-second break is given. Repeat till 4 minutes are up.
EMOM, which stands for "Every Minute On the Minute," keeps intensity high and rest times short to test the body's adaptability and capacity for recovery. The majority of such workouts involve starting each minute by completing a fixed number of repetitions of a particular exercise before resting for the remaining of the minute. That means, the more quickly you complete the reps, the more rest you get!
Each LADDER workout consists of 2 exercises. Perform 1 rep of the first exercise, then 1 rep of the second exercise. Following this, complete 2 reps of each exercise in an alternating manner. Keep repeating this sequence while adding a rep every round until the 10-rep round is reached. Once done, work your way back down the ladder!
Ironically straightforward, COMPLEXES require picking up a piece of equipment and holding onto it until an entire series of exercises is complete. These workouts test your willpower and grip strength while improving muscular strength and endurance. A typical complex consists of 4-5 exercises. Without stopping, perform the suggested number of reps for each exercise, then rest for 90 seconds before repeating the process 4 times.
AMRAP, or "As Many Rounds As Possible", means completing as many reps or rounds of an exercise you can manage in the stipulated time. If you had a circuit of 6 exercises, for example, you could set a timer for 20 minutes and perform the circuit as many times as possible. Because you can easily compare your performance to past efforts, AMRAP training is a useful technique for keeping track of your fitness level and progress.
The many variations of HIIT make it a great and fun workout to incorporate into any training programme! At FITLUC, we include a diverse range of HIIT exercises to help our clients reach their individual health and fitness goals. Using equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls, or even just your bodyweight, our personal trainers will customise high-intensity circuits that to help you get healthier and stronger!
6 Benefits of HIIT
1. HIIT can help you burn more calories
Did you know that the calorie-burning effects of completing a HIIT workout extend beyond the duration of the workout itself? Yes, you burn calories even up to 24h after your workout! Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is the term for this phenomena of calorie-burning after exercise. EPOC happens when your body burns extra calories to repair the damage from a strenuous activity. Furthermore, because HIIT workouts are so intense, the effect of EPOC after a HIIT workout is much greater than say, a typical traditional cardio exercise, even though a similar number of calories may be burned during the exercise itself.
2. HIIT may help you lose weight and tone-up
HIIT can serve as a more convenient method to help you lose weight because not only do you spend less time working out, you also burn more calories thanks to EPOC! With HIIT, your heart rate remains elevated throughout the entire workout, which is ideal for calorie-burning and makes this a good option for weight loss. Additionally, HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise which uses fats as its main source of fuel, given its high intensity and shorter duration. Hence, HIIT can also help you tone up for the summer!
3. HIIT builds many muscle groups
Numerous diverse movements are included in the majority of HIIT workouts, such as squats, push-ups and burpees. Performing exercises that target a range muscle groups during a HIIT workout allows you to work multiple muscle groups at once. Due to the high intensity and short rest times, total body muscular strength and endurance will be developed. As many HIIT workouts also involve explosive movements, such as squat jumps and ball slams, power-production and coordination can also be improved by doing HIIT.
4. HIIT improves oxygen and blood flow
In order to supply your muscles with oxygen and nutrients, your heart pumps blood throughout the body continuously. Hence, cardiovascular fitness is an extremely important aspect of one's overall health. Numerous studies have shown that HIIT exercises are effective in producing sustainable improvements in cardiovascular health, owing to how the heart is worked hard during HIIT sessions. Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 21 persons in Singapore each day. In fact, 32% of all fatalities in 2021 were caused by cardiovascular disease. Since boosting your cardiovascular health can substantially lower your risk for heart diseases, HIIT workouts are a great investment for the future you.
5. HIIT can help lower blood pressure and sugar
HIIT exercises can aid in reducing blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease. In 2017, a study investigating the effects of HIIT on cardiovascular health found that sedentary men aged 56 to 67 who engaged in HIIT exercise regularly for 6 weeks experienced an average drop in blood pressure of roughly 5.5 mm/HG (Grace et al., 2017). HIIT workouts can also aid in blood sugar regulation, especially for diabetics. It has been shown that persons with Type 2 Diabetes can have better control over their insulin levels and better pancreas function after only 8 weeks of HIIT programming (Madsen et al., 2015).
6. HIIT could improve sleep quality
Over several weeks, performing frequent HIIT workouts may even help you in your sleep! In general, exercise is generally linked to improved sleep and sleeping for longer periods of time. The enhanced quantity and quality of sleep have shown to have numerous implications on overall health and are crucial for functions including memory, mood, and weight loss.
Due to the need for short bursts of high-intensity efforts in a range of sport and leisure activities, interval training has been a crucial component of training regimens for many years. But of course, HIIT is not the be-all and end-all of fitness and exercise! The host of health advantages HIIT brings will be enhanced by incorporating it into a general conditioning programme. At FITLUC, our dedicated personal trainers are more than happy to customise a training programme combining a variety of other important fitness components, such as strength, functional and plyometric exercises to help you achieve your fitness goals! So what are you waiting for? Give us a try and #GetThatFITLook! Drop us a WhatsApp message at +65 8812 0110 or book a personal training trial with one of our dedicated trainers to explore if personal training is the best choice for you!
Just a heads-up, it will probably be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
This article is co-written by Jane Ong.
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