Well that title was a bit of a mouthful.
As many people increasingly vow to change their lifestyles for the better, the most common denominator of all goals is of course, losing weight. Now I’ve been back and forth with this love/hate relationship with exercise; I’ve spent literally years figuring out how to shed those kilos and the research has somewhat paid off. At the end of the day, there are no shortcuts when it comes to this.
With one of the (albeit most hated) most effective ways to burn fat, HIIT has become rather popular over recent years, and I myself can see why. If you’ve not fallen asleep yet do read on as I’m going to share my tips with how to make a seemingly unbearable form of weight-loss training be actually bearable (and why it’s so bloody effective):
I guess we’ll start with ‘why it’s so bloody effective’
Type in the key words ‘weight loss’ anywhere these days and you’re guaranteed to stumble across the term HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. And yep, it’s almost as awful as it sounds. ALMOST. But we’ll get to that later. This form of exercise has been proven to be highly successful as it revs up your fat-burning system to the nines, both during and after your workout. Through having short bursts of high-intensity cardio training (running/cycling/rowing/cross-training etc.), it basically makes your body go ‘whoah’ (or for a more technical term, the constant back-and-forth speeds shakes up your metabolism to burn even more than if you were doing cardio at a regular pace).*
*Disclaimer: I know there are many more fancier technical terms for this actual process but I’m not about to claim I’m a fully-qualified fitness trainer, I’m just spewing out what my tiny brain has managed to actually absorb.
It’s not as hellish as it seems
I’m not really selling this very well, but hold that thought. There are plenty of ways you can fit this into your routine if your goal is to ultimately lose weight. The main focus is that with HIIT, you don’t need to spend nearly as much time as you would normally during cardio. Of course it varies from person to person, but for me 20 minutes and I’m done (and see results if I’m not also eating like a starving pig). So, with that, if you try just a little bit harder for a little less time – you’re actually gaining so much more time, and actually losing weight. Oh the irony.
Don’t be afraid to start out small
That phrase probably made better sense in my head, but the main thing is to not jump in headfirst. When I started, I remember only being able to do 3 interval sprints in 20 minutes. After doing HIIT running for easily over a year now, I can do 5 interval sprints in 10 minutes. That may not be much for some, but it’s progress nonetheless.
Keep it simple
Don’t burn out too quickly. On the non-interval periods, keep the pace steady but don’t push yourself too hard. You’ll need that energy for the 30 second intervals, where you need to push yourself as hard as you can.
A fire playlist is EVERYTHING
Honestly, I swear by this. By updating my ‘Gym Playlist’ every time I go (or at least not playing songs I know inside out), this helps me focus on the harder parts so much more. You can’t sing along and you’re more distracted and therefore forget you’ve just completed your 4th interval already. Genius. And nothing pumps a mood up better than a banging tune (I literally couldn’t think of a better/worse phrase, sorry).
Mix it up
Although you may get used to HIIT and may actually start liking it, sticking to one exercise on one machine won’t be effective in the long run, cause, Sod’s Law. Your body simply gets lazy and can’t be arsed to work hard cause it’s gotten comfortable. If you use a different machine every time you go to the gym, however, your body won’t be able to keep up and it’ll automatically work harder. And then you’ll be able to say you can boss 3 different types of HIIT training. Goooooooals.
So there you have it. If you stick with it, it can become your best friend. It’s gruelling at first, but you’ll be amazed how your body can adapt and how GOOD it feels to be able to feel your fitness progressing. And unfortunately, I can’t come up with a HIIT-related pun, so I’ll just leave this here: