What exactly is HIIT?
As described by the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform.
Studies show that HIIT benefits far surpasses those of the traditional workout. Your body will benefit more from a short warm up and cool down and 15-20 minutes of HIIT than an hour or more spent on a run or another type of consistent cardio.
Why HIIT can be classified as anti-aging
Any regular exercise helps keep us young, but the latest research confirms that HIIT, if done correctly, is the best choice for anti-aging. HIIT stimulates the powerful HGH (human growth hormone). HGH has been shown to slow down aging by increasing muscle density, bone density and decreasing body fat. This is beneficial at any age, but especially after 40 when our bodies naturally lose muscle and gain fat.
In a March 2017 study published in Cell Metabolism, a HIIT workout actually reverses some of the aspects of aging on a cellular level.
HIIT the Calories and Fat where it counts!
A HIIT workout can burn up to 15% more calories and raises our body’s ability to oxidize fat over traditional workouts. There is science to back up these claims. In a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. Who doesn’t want an efficient workout and quicker results?
Personal success with HIIT for losing weight and getting fit
In 2016 my baby went to kindergarten and I went to the gym. A career fitness yo-yo-er, but a generally active person, working out was not foreign to me. In the past, I had long-term relationships with cross fit, spinning, kickboxing, group power and even one-on-one personal training without ever really achieving my fitness goals.
Through a HIIT based workout and and a lean, lower carb diet, I lost 22 pounds over the next few months. The difference with the HIIT approach over any other workout I had ever tried is that I could actually see my body becoming more defined, I was losing fat and my cardio vascular fitness was the best it had ever been. I was definitely drinking the Kool-Aid. That is metaphorically speaking, of course, because there is no room for sugar-laden Kool-Aid in my renewed approach to nutrition.
How to get hooked on HIIT safely
If you want to be able to sit on the toilet post-workout, I would recommend starting out slowly. The best part about HIIT is that a little bit goes a long way. Avoiding injury is key so make sure you know exactly how to do each move with proper form.
The 7-minute HIIT workout – to get you started
Yes, you read correctly – 7-minutes! Elaine, CEO of Sonder Grace, swears by this workout. It includes 12 exercises to be performed 30 seconds each with a 10 second rest in between each exercise. Don’t forget to start with a warm up and end with a cool down.
Equipment Needed: A chair, a wall and your body.
Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms above your head and jump up just enough to spread your feet out wide. Without pausing, quickly reverse the movement and repeat.
Stand with you back against the wall, feet hip width apart and sightly out from the wall. Slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your shoulders, upper back and butt should be flat against the wall. Imagine sitting in a chair against the wall and the chair disappearing.
Push ups (traditional or from the knee)
Get down on all fours and then place your hands a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. Straighten your arms and your legs coming up onto your toes (or knees). Lower your chest to the floor then raise again. Repeat.
Lie on your bank with knees bent and hip width apart. Place your hands behind your head with thumbs behind your ears to gently support your neck. Hold your elbows out to the side. Tilt your chin leaving a few inches between your chin and your chest. Using your abdominals, curl upward lifting your head, neck and shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for a moment at the top of the movement and lower back down. Repeat. Tip: think about leading with your abs through the whole series of crunches.
Find a sturdy chair or bench. Step squarely into the chair so that you knee and leg are at a 90-degree angle or greater. Step up leading with the right foot, then the left, bringing both feet completely onto the bench. Repeat.
Stand with your head facing forward and chest up and out. You can raise your hands in front of you no higher than shoulder-hight. You may bend the elbows and/or clasp the fingers together if desired. Sit back and down like you are sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, keep your back flat as you lower down at the knees. Keep your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels and hold for a moment. Push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. Repeat.
Chair tricep dips
Sit on a sturdy chair or bench with your hands next to your hips (or slightly under your hips). Move your legs out in front of you until your butt comes off the chair and bend at the elbows lowering your hips near the floor. Keep your body close to the chair. The straighter your legs are in front of you the more challenging the exercise.
Get down on all fours. Place hands on the floor or mat shoulder with apart. Alternatively, you can place the whole forearm flat on the floor. This is easier on the wrists. Straighten legs and come up onto your toes. Make sure to keep your butt in line with your back and shoulders. Hold.
Stand with feet hip width apart. Face your palms to the floor hovering at about waist hight. Launching from the ball of your feet, lift the right knee up to touch your right palm. Alternate knees in a hopping motion. Make sure to engage your abdominals through the series.
Standing tall, step forward with your left leg and slowly lower your body until your from knee is bent at least 90 degrees, while your rear knee is just off the floor. Keep your torso upright the entire time. Pause, then push off your left foot off the floor and return to the starting position as quickly as you can. Alternate legs doing one rep with your left, then one rep with your right.
Push up and rotation
Follow the classic push up instructions above. As you raise your body back up, lift your right arm up and extend overhead. Your arms and torso should form a T as your right index finger reaches towards the ceiling. Return to the starting position and lower chest to the floor with both arms. As you come back up perform the extension with your left arm. Keep alternating arms from push up to rotation.
Side plank (15 seconds on each side)
Begin seated sideways on the floor with your right hand below your right should and feet staked or top foot in front of bottom foot
Once you have mastered the 7-minute HIIT workout and you want a greater challenge add another 7 minutes and do a second round of the same 12 moves and the incorporate the following tips for greater challenge.
- Turn your push ups burpees.
- Alternate your abdominal crunches by placing your heads in army style behind your head and focusing on bringing your opposite elbow to opposite knee.
- If you have a pair of light weight dumbbells, add alternating bicep curl to your chair step ups.
- Place low weight dumbbells on your shoulders when doing squats.
- Hold one dumbbell in each hand with arms at your side when doing alternating lunges.
Good luck and have fun!
Remember to consult your physician before going from couch potato to HIIT extraordinaire.
This workout was adapted from the The Scientific 7-minute workout.