Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

men sprinting on a track doing high intensity interval training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): An Efficient Way to Exercise…How Would you like to Achieve Fat Burning Results, With less of a Time Commitment?

High Intensity Interval Training and Benefits

It's Efficient
High Intensity Interval training (HIIT), also known as High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or Sprint Intermittent Training (SIT) is a form of interval aerobic training that involves short bursts of severe exercise followed by varied periods of rest. Intense exercise periods usually last between five and eight minutes at the maximum allowable heart rate without overexerting the heart. The rest periods normally last as long as the intense workout periods, at about half the individual’s maximum heart rate. This routine is repeated for a duration lasting half an hour to a full hour depending on the fitness goals. This workout has been gaining popularity in the past years since fitness experts have attributed the regimen to a myriad of benefits. The next section discusses these benefits.

As a complete physical activity program, the regimen provides health and fitness benefits to the entire body, and mind. One of the most important advantages of the training program is the increase in the body’s metabolic rate. This happens due to a reaction knows as the Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). During the intense workout period, an Oxygen deficit is created. The body takes note of this, and tries to compensate by fulfilling the need of oxygen during the relaxation period, and after the workout regime. Other benefits stem from EPOC including an improved calorie expenditure and direct burnout of fat (Wisløff et al. 2009). Since intense workouts improve cardiorespiratory fitness levels, HIIT has been shown to reduce blood pressure, promoting better vessel structures and reducing mortality rates related to heart disease.

You'll be Able to Burn More Fat
During a HIIT workout, you will not only able to burn more calories, but also the impact of all that intense exertion kicks the repair cycle of your body into hyper drive. This means that your body burns more calories and fat in 1 day after a HIIT workout as compared you do after a steady-pace run.

You'll Boost Your Metabolism
In addition to more muscle preserved and increased fat burning, HIIT increases the production of your HGH (human growth hormone) up to 450% in one day after you have finished your training. This is great news as HGH is not just responsible for enhanced caloric burn, but also offers several other benefits, such as it slows down the process of aging, making you look and feel younger both inside and out. It also helps in improving the occurrence of coronary artery disease and heart failure.

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No Requirement for Equipment
Rowing, jump roping, biking and running, all work amazing for high intensity interval training, and there is no need of any equipment to get HIIT work done. Fast feet, high knees, or anything plyometric, such as jumping lunges work as perfectly to get your heart rate up fast. Actually, equipment, such as dumbbells can make High Intensity Interval Training less effective. This is because for an effective HIIT workout, your focus should be on pushing your heart to its max, instead of working out your biceps.

You Lose Calories, Not Muscle
The best part of HIIT workout is that you only lose weight, instead of losing muscles. Anyone who has been on a strict diet knows very well that it is normal to lose muscle along with excess fat. However, high intensity interval training workouts allow dieters to maintain their hard-earned muscles while making sure that most of the weight lost comes from fat storage.

Insulin Resistance
One of the most talked about effects of HIIT is the improvement in insulin sensitivity of muscles involved. Studies have shown that trainees who used the regime showed a 23% to 58% improvement in insulin uptake. When one partakes in an intense workout activity, the muscle relaxation and contractions trigger glucose carriers known as GLUT4 translocaters which improve the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle, even when low amounts of insulin are present (Ramos et al. 2015). The final benefit that this paper discusses is the effect on cholesterol levels. The exercise regimen regulates the amount of lipoproteins, which are responsible for the transportation of cholesterol between the liver and other body parts. High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) transport excess cholesterol back to the liver for processing, while low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) transport processed cholesterol from the liver to the body parts (Gibala and McGee, 2008). Studies have shown that HIIT promotes the production of HDL, thereby reducing the chances of arteries developing plaque, and by extension lowering the possibility of heart attack and brain stroke.

The benefits outlined above would be of little importance if we did not study how fibers and muscles adopt to the changes brought about by the regimen. In a study conducted on endurance athletes, the subjects were administered high intensity interval training for 6 weeks and the physiological and skeletal muscle adaptations were noted. The results were obtained through exercise tests and muscle biopsies before and after the training period. The study determined that HIIT reduced levels of plasma lactate by roughly 70%. This indicates that the training program improves oxygen supply to muscles involved. The results also suggest a decrease in the cross sectional area of type ıı fibers (Tremblay et al. 1994). The study concluded that HIIT improves muscle oxidation capacity, coupled with an increase in HDL capacity.

You Can Do It Anywhere
You can do a HIIT workout anywhere and adapt it to whatever space and time constraints you have.

Are you Thinking HIIT is Too Hard for You?
HIIT can be modified for you regardless of your fitness level. HIIT can be achieved by a variety of modalities such as walking, swimming, and biking.

This paper has explored the various advantages of High Intensity Interval Training, and these include: regulation of body metabolism, improved calorie expenditure, enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness, improved insulin response and regulation of cholesterol. The study has also determined that muscle adaptations to the regimen occur at type ıı fibers, resulting in reduced lactic acid levels. These benefits suggest that the HIIT regimen is beneficial to anyone who partakes in the exercises.

In health and with love,
Dr. Diane and Dr. Miles


  1. Wisloff, U., Ellingsen, & Kemi, O. J. (2009). High-intensity interval training to maximize cardiac benefits of exercise training? Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 37(3), 139-146.
  2. Gibala, M. J., & McGee, S. L. (2008). Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain? Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 36(2), 58-63.
  3. Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J. A., & Bouchard, C. (1994). Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism, 43(7), 814-818.
  4. Ramos-Filho, D., Chicaybam, G., de-Souza-Ferreira, E., Martinez, C. G., Kurtenbach, E., Casimiro-Lopes, G., & Galina, A. (2015). High intensity interval training (HIIT) induces specific changes in respiration and electron leakage in the mitochondria of different rat skeletal muscles. PloS one, 10(6), e0131766.

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