Are you looking to shed extra kilos and improve your fitness level in a short time?
Nothing burns fat like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts while toning your body towards a fit and lean appearance. Improvement in overall health is a bonus.
This article is the ultimate HIIT guide along with 15 beginner-friendly HIIT exercises you can do in the comfort of your home.
What Is HIIT?
As the name suggests, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a workout regimen that involves anaerobic exercises performed with high intensity followed by brief resting periods. It is a quick, effective and engaging workout routine to lose the flab and get a toned physique. Research proves that HIIT workouts burn fat in a short amount of time. It also has significant health benefits.
How Does HIIT Work?
In a HIIT routine, you go through this cycle of working out and resting in intervals, which vary in length and type. The workouts focus on the intensity of an exercise and one HIIT circuit comprises 4-6 repetitions. The exercises instantly elevate your heart rate and metabolism, leading to a much faster calorie burn in a short time.
Studies show that as little as two minutes of HIIT can increase the body’s metabolic rate for 24 hours, compared to 30 minutes of running. Research also shows that HIIT burns harmful visceral fat in the body when compared to other exercises. It burns fat and reduces waist circumference regardless of dietary changes.
Further, HIIT aids the afterburn effect, where the resulting high metabolism continues burning calories even at rest.
Top 7 Weight Loss Benefits Of HIIT
Find out how you can benefit from HIIT here:
- Faster Calorie Burn: As mentioned earlier, HIIT makes your heart pump faster and increases your calorie burn in a short time. According to a research study, you can burn 25 to 30% more calories with HIIT than other exercises.
- Excellent For Fat Loss: HIIT workout routine burns almost twice as much fat compared to other moderately intense exercises, resulting in about a 17% reduction in visceral fat in obese or overweight individuals. Further, the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC or the afterburn) effect burns calories even hours after the workout.
- Aids Weight Loss And Maintenance: Burning calories leads to fat loss and further weight loss. HIIT improves metabolism and digestion, eliminating toxins from the body and leading to weight loss. It also increases VO₂ max, an indicator of physical endurance and cardio fitness. By burning more calories in a short time, HIIT also becomes an excellent exercise regimen for healthy weight maintenance.
- Boosts Metabolism: Compared to conventional exercises like jogging or weight training, HIIT workouts are far more effective in boosting your metabolic rate. This high rate of metabolism continues even hours after the workout session, leading to a higher resting energy expenditure.
- Increases Muscle Mass: Apart from fat loss, specific HIIT exercises and techniques can increase lean muscle mass in some individuals. Studies show that most individuals gain muscles in the legs and trunk area with HIIT.
- Tones The Body: The combination of all cardio and strength training exercises in HIIT leads to lean muscle mass formation, toning the body for a fitter and a more sculpted look.
- Boosts Flexibility And Balance: HIIT is also excellent for improving body posture, balance, flexibility, and coordination. As it improves your overall fitness, HIIT increases your exercise tolerance. This will enable you to cultivate a fit lifestyle.
Must Read: How Do Pilates Work For Weight Loss?
Other Health Benefits Of HIIT:
- Improves Oxygen Levels: Compared to endurance exercises, HIIT is highly effective in improving your oxygen capacity in a short time. According to a study, HIIT workouts performed for five weeks (four days a week) and 20 minutes each day led to a 9% improvement in oxygen levels.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: Regular HIIT workouts can help improve insulin resistance and decrease blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals compared to conventional exercises. A study showed that the HIIT regimen improved blood sugar levels in individuals with Type-2 diabetes in 12 weeks or less.
- Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: HIIT can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in obese individuals with high blood pressure, thus improving overall cardiovascular health.
- Better Sleep And Mental Health: Research shows improved sleep quality and a range of benefits for people struggling with stress and anxiety with HIIT. In a study, participants reported reduced depression and better mental health scores after HIIT.
15 Beginner-Friendly HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss
We have carefully curated a list of 15 beginner-friendly HIIT workouts for weight loss, which you can do at home with minimal equipment:
- Jump Squats: The easiest HIIT exercises for beginners, jump squats target your lower abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Stand in a squat position and jump as high as possible. Return to the squatting position and repeat 15 to 20 times.
- Burpees: Burpees are full-body HIIT workouts that target your core. Stand with your feet apart and then go down in a squat position. While placing your hands on the floor, kick your legs back in plank position and push up to get back to the squat position. Return to the standing position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
- High Knees: These work on the lower abs, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Stand straight and start jumping while bringing your knees up alternately at high speed. You can also extend your palm to get into the rhythm. Repeat for 45 seconds.
- Mountain Climbers: They help burn many calories in a short time and work on the core, legs and shoulders. In a plank position, draw the left knee in without lifting your hips and then draw the right knee in. Do this at high speed 15 to 20 times.
- Lunge Jumps: An effective HIIT women’s exercise for beginners, lunge jumps are an advanced form of a walking lunge. Jump high in the air and land on each foot alternately. Repeat 10 times to work on your arms, legs and thighs.
- Flutter Kicks: They work on your abs, hamstrings and glutes. Lie down while placing your hands close to your body. Now, lift your left leg up the floor and do not let it touch the floor. Lift your right leg as your left leg goes down. Keep doing this at speed for 30 seconds, followed by two minutes of rest.
- Jumping Jacks: Stand straight with your feet apart and jump with your feet moving laterally apart. At the same time, move your hands over your head and repeat this 10 to 15 times. This HIIT exercise is great for calves, hamstrings, adductor muscles, and shoulders.
- Rope Jumping: This workout is effective for the wrists, glutes, biceps and core. Start with standard jump ropes and gradually alternate between the legs. Do this for 30 to 45 seconds.
- Bicycle Crunches: Lie down on your back and lift one leg while bending your knee. Simultaneously keep your hands behind your head and bring your upper body to touch your left leg. Do it with both the legs and repeat 15-20 times. It is excellent for reducing belly fat and waist circumference.
- Russian Twists: They work on the core and leg muscles. Sit on the floor with knees bent and palms joined. Engage your core while twisting your body left and right. Simultaneously lift your feet off the ground. Repeat 30 times.
- Ab Crunches: They are the best HIIT core exercises for toned abs. Lie down on the floor and start crunching by engaging your core. Increase the pace and go on for 45 seconds.
- Plank Jacks: They work wonders on your core area, reduce your waist size and tone your abs. Stay in a plank position and make sure that your body remains in a straight line. Now start spreading your legs apart while only moving the lower body. Repeat 30- 40 times.
- Side Jackknife: This is a full-body exercise targetting the oblique muscles. Lie down on the side with one leg on top of the other. Put one hand behind your head. Simultaneously lift your leg to touch the elbow while balancing your body. Repeat as many times as you can.
- Arm Curl Jackknife: This exercise engages the core and requires a set of dumbbells. Sit on the ground while holding a dumbbell in your hands. Bend your knees, lean back and lift your feet up while balancing your body on the glutes. Extend your legs and arms back. Repeat this 20 to 30 times at a faster pace.
- Push-Up Punch: Begin this exercise in a plank position and lower your body while bending your arms. As you push your body back up, straighten one arm like one you are punching. Repeat this 15 to 20 times at a fast pace. This is a very effective strengthening and toning HIIT exercise.
Must Read: A Complete Guide To Yoga For Weight Loss
Top 5 Expert Tips To Follow While Doing HIIT
These expert tips will help you maximise the impact of HIIT workouts for weight loss:
- Consult your doctor or a fitness trainer to make sure your health permits engaging in intense HIIT exercises. Train under an expert to avoid any injuries or health complications.
- Begin with HIIT on alternate days to build stamina and gradually increase the frequency and duration. Alternatively, you could start with cardio and start incorporating HIIT into your workout routine. Stick to a proper schedule and make sure you set two days a week for rest and recovery.
- Never engage in HIIT workouts on an empty stomach. Have a nutrition bar or complex carbs like oatmeal. Hydrate yourself before and after the session with electrolytes.
- Always warm up properly to reduce muscle fatigue and prepare your body for high-intensity exercises.
- Replenish your body by eating a healthy meal of lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats post-workout.
HIIT effectively helps lose weight at the comfort of your home without the use of heavy equipment. Even a 15-minute easy HIIT circuit ensures faster calorie burn, fat reduction and weight loss. You can try experimenting with different HIIT circuits, gradually extend the duration and eventually maximise your weight loss and fitness efforts.
If you want to cultivate a fit and healthy lifestyle while maintaining your ideal body weight forever, then visit Oliva Skin & Hair Clinic. Our health and fitness experts will customise meal and exercise plans for you, ensuring you are on the path to a sustainably fit lifestyle.