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In case you haven’t noticed by now, High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has surged in popularity and use over the last few years. In fact, Hiit was in the top two fitness trends of 2014. So what is this training, and why is it so popular and used now? Even NASA concluded HIIT as an effective and recommended workout approach.

If you’ve been hearing all about HIIT, but still aren’t sure what it is, this guide will help you out. We’ll explain just what this type of training is, what its benefits are, and provide some HIIT cardio exercises that you can try out for yourself. Read on to see what all the buzz is about.

What is HIIT?

Now that you know what HIIT stands for, it’s time to explain why. High-Intensity Interval Training refers to the fact that the workout is very much intense, and with intervals in between.

Home HIIT Training

When completing HIIT exercises, you give a 100%, all-out, full-on effort as best you can, in periods of short, intense bursts. This is followed by a similarly-short rest period, that can also sometimes be active.

With HIIT, your heart rate remains high, while your body burns a higher amount of fat and calories, while using less time. This is due to the fact that your body needs more oxygen during this training, which in turn forces your body to demand more oxygen from your heart, which is busy circulating oxygen in your blood at a much higher rate.

This effect is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC.

For many, HIIT is just what the need to get that extra boost to trim off stubborn fat, or reach new heights during their cardio and strength training. More and more people are turning to HIIT each day, and reaping all of the benefits that come with it.

What Are the Benefits of HIIT?

There are plenty of benefits to be found from partaking in HIIT, making it one of the most effective training styles in existence currently.

Quick and Efficient

Perhaps the most apparent benefit of HIIT is the fact that it takes much less time than other training types. This allows you to get more done, and waste less time. For those who are always in a time crunch, and use this as an excuse to avoid working out, here you go. You now have no excuses.

Quick HIIT Training

With about 30 minutes of spare time, you can give yourself an incredibly effective workout that can be done virtually anywhere, whether you’re at home, on vacation, or even in a hotel room. With the proper exercise knowledge, all you need is a flat surface and a little bit of space around you.

HIIT is a Rewarding Challenge

It's easy to get bored with repetitive workout routines, especially when they can be difficult for you to track your progress with. With HIIT, you are always going full throttle, so it’s always hard. The rewarding aspect come from when you realize how much longer you can go without needing a break.

No Equipment Required

Think you need a bunch of dumb bells, treadmills, or any other equipment for HIIT? You just need yourself. HIIT workouts almost always rely on the use of your own bodyweight, with the primary focus of getting your heart rate where it needs to be.

Tabata HIIT

HIIT workouts are designed to provide optimal muscle building and retention, while also cultivating fat loss and higher calorie burning -- all without equipment.

High Levels of Metabolism

The high intensity and resulting EPOC effect creates an environment that sends your metabolism shooting upwards. With HIIT, your metabolism is given a massive boost, which sometimes last for up to 48 hours after your workout has been completed.

Yes, HIIT gets your body working at a higher rate for nearly two days, even when you are literally just sitting there. You’ll be burning fat for hours long after you’ve finished.

Quicker Heart Rate Improvement

While some may prefer HIIT for its fat burning capabilities, the truth is that it’s even more effective for rapidly increasing your heart rate.

Full Body HIIT

The whole point of HIIT is to push your heart rate to the maximum, which is then followed by brief rests to ensure that you don’t push too far. This is the fastest way to condition your heart into being stronger and more efficient. This results in you having more energy during the day, while also improving your workouts.

Research has proven the effects of HIIT over other training methods. In fact, a study in 2006 concluded that participants were able to bike double the amount of their previous distance after eight weeks of HIIT.

If you want to burn fat at a higher rate, while also rapidly increasing your heart’s strength, HIIT is for you.

HIIT Cardio Exercises

Now that you know what you need to know about HIIT, it’s time to learn a few exercises to try out on your own.

Outdoor

This running exercise is perfect for outdoor HIIT, and is incredibly simple. To do it, run as fast as you possibly can for 1 full minute, and then walk for 2 minutes. Do this 5 more times, and you’ve accomplished a 15 minute HIIT set. Easy, right?

Running On Steps

After a few weeks, you’ll begin to notice how much easier the exercise gets, and you can start increasing the number of sets, or even the duration that you run in a full sprint for. As long as you keep the same pattern, you’ll be okay.

Indoor

If you are in need of a quick and easy HIIT workout for an indoor setting, try doing mountain climbers as fast as you can for 1 minute, and then stand up and walk in place for 1 minute. Repeat this process for 15 minutes, and you’re all done.

20 Minute Run Cardio

If mountain climbers aren’t your thing, you can do high-knee running in place for 1 full minute, followed by walking in place for 2. If you want to mix things up, try switching out every other set with jumping jacks as fast as you can do them instead.

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