Become a HIIT Machine
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, should be a part of your workout routine. If not I encourage you to read along and add it as a tool in your proverbial toolbox. If you have experience with HIIT you may find something that will take your HIIT work to a new level so don’t bail on me. Before you know it you’ll be a HIIT machine!
HIIT is making waves within the fitness industry in recent years. Honestly, it’s been a big deal for almost a decade in strength and personal trainer communities. HIIT enthusiasts and proponents describe it as the most effective way to get the most out of your workout time.
High-intensity interval training helps you maximize the results and minimize the time you spend in the gym or working out. If you are anything like me your love saving time, especially when it comes to cardio.
In the last ten years, HIIT has become a staple in the fitness industry, and one that many fitness trainers lean on. And precisely this fact shows us that HIIT is not just a fad but is here to stay. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at what HIIT is, how you can incorporate it into your home gym workout routine, and what the best HIIT machines are for your home gym. I’ll also add a section on HIIT vs steady state cardio.
Here’s where I’m headed:
- What is HIIT?
- What does HIIT look like for you?
- The best HIIT machines
- HIIT vs steady state cardio.
A working definition of HIIT and its Benefits
So what is HIIT?
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It means that you work out at a very high intensity for an interval, followed by a short, low-intensity period of rest. HIIT will keep your heart pumping and will be anything but boring. It is perhaps one of the best ways to boost our stamina and shed excess body fat.
It requires complete focus and maximum effort for short periods, and the higher intensity will help reduce the time you spend working out. Instead of sitting around the gym for 1-2 hours, needlessly spending too much time resting or checking our phones, HIIT will force us to do anaerobic work, plus we will spend much less time for the same or better results as with some other forms of cardio or working out.
If you are expecting a comfortable ride, then HIIT isn’t for you. These workouts are short but very intense; the rest periods in between the working periods are still a hot topic, though.
Some claim that a 1:1 ratio between rest and action is the best (30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest), while others think that a 2:1 rate is better (60 seconds work, 30 seconds rest.) It is the beauty of HIIT: you can choose how long those periods are, and you can use it with almost any type of workout.
You can do almost anything with HIIT; you can do rowing, cycling, running, machine workouts, bodyweight workouts, sports, and many more. Because of that flexibility, many HIIT routines exist, and these are some of the most common ones:
- Tabata routine – 20 seconds of maximum-effort training, 10 seconds of rest, eight cycles (4 minutes in total.)
- Gibala routine– 60 seconds of work, 75 seconds of rest, 8-12 cycles.
- Zuniga routine – 30 seconds of 90% effort, 30 seconds of rest.
- Vollaard routine – 20 seconds of all-out workout with rest in between. Perfect for cycling and running.
The Benefits of HIIT
HIIT improves cardiovascular health
If you stick with HIIT consistently for a few weeks or months, you are bound to see some big results. One of the best ones is that your overall health will improve, as well as your cardiovascular health. See this article form the World Journal of Cardiology that echos the benefit of HIIT on cardiovascular health.
Significant improvement of stamina and conditioning
One of the most substantial reasons why people perform HIIT is to improve their stamina. We can easily incorporate this with running; for example, we can sprint for 30 seconds and then jog or walk for 30 seconds, and repeat it. It is one of the best ways to get stamina fast. One study in this peer-reviewed journal article found that those practicing HIIT had statistically significant outcomes compared to moderate-intensity continuous training, which is also known as 30 minutes of target heart rate exercise (traditional cardio).
Weight loss and fat burning
Those looking to lose weight or decrease body fat percentage, HIIT is an excellent way to do that. It can be used as a workout finisher, or for your whole workout. This one area where I’ve personally found that High-Intensity Interval Training really excels.
If you want to burn fat and burn it hours after you finish with your workout this is the way to do it. Check out VeryWell.com’s post on this subject and for the other side of the coin (find me a load of experts I’ll find you divergent opinions) read here. However, my personal opinion is on the fact that HIIT will help you burn fat and lose weight.
Muscle gain and/or Muscle Preservation
Some forms of HIIT will help you gain muscle, especially exercises intending to increase muscle mass. Beginners might see a more significant improvement than seasoned gym-goers. However, HIIT will help you retain the muscle you worked so hard for during your strength training bouts. One study to check out on this point is from InBodyUSA.
Psychological Benefits of HIIT Machines
Along with physical benefits, you will also reap psychological rewards, such as improved confidence and higher motivation levels. One study at UC Davis found that hard workouts like HIIT can decrease depression and another University of Texas study shows that it can improve mood. See the study here.
Improved Cognitive Capabilities
High-Intensity Interval Training can improve cognitive function. One study in Psychology Today noted that it improved cerebral blood flow in practitioners and thus could circumvent cognitive decline. I don’t know about you but anything that can provide cognitive help is welcomed in my book.
HIIT is a time saver
It’s a no brainer that something like HIIT necessarily saves you time in your gym and decreases your total workout time. Since HIIT is executed in intervals, by its very nature, it makes sense that the intensity of these intervals provides a quicker benefit as compared to normal steady-state cardio. If you really want to become a HIIT machine you gotta implement it into your routine. This reminds me I owe you a rundown on HIIT vs Steady State Cardio.
HIIT vs Steady State Cardio
The main difference between HIIT vs steady-state cardio is that HIIT hits anaerobic and aerobic systems, while the latter hits only the aerobic system. Simply put this means that HIIT will help you build more stamina in a shorter period. A steady-state cardio workout means you will work out at a much lower intensity, and HIIT brings those intensity levels to the maximum, meaning you will reap better rewards from it.
The second difference is that HIIT will take much less time than steady-state cardio. HIIT is also a high-impact way of working out, while steady-state cardio is low-impact, meaning you will recover much faster from steady-state cardio. HIIT is more appropriate for those trying to develop more agility, balance, and speed. At the same time, steady-state cardio is more suited for those who want to have more stamina on longer distances.
These comments are generalities. Even long-distance runners can and do benefit from HIIT training from time to time. For example intervals of faster running within a longer jog, while not pure HIIT will help develop strength in the runner.
The Bottom Line on HIIT vs Steady State Cardio
The bottom line is that both types of working out have their own benefits, but that doesn’t mean that they exclude each other. Why not combine them both and get the best of both worlds? We can, for example, go for a steady-state cardio run, and finish it off with some HIIT sprint intervals to get the most out of it.
What Exercises to do & What HIIT Machines to Pick?
So now we know what HIIT is, but how do I incorporate HIIT into my home gym and training routine?
The list of options of where we can do HIIT is almost endless. With just about any exercise or workout that requires some sort of movement, HIIT can be applied. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate HIIT into your training routine.
HIIT for running is perfect. If you like to do running, then you can apply it any time you go for a run. Just time yourself and give it your all for a chosen interval, and then follow it up with a rest period.
Alternatively, if you don’t like running outside or the weather is not the best, you can always get a HIIT machine like a treadmill to do it at home. It’s great because it allows you to set up speeds and adjust the times and intervals. An elliptical machine is also perfect for increasing your leg strength and stamina.
Similarly, you can use HIIT when you cycle. If you don’t have an outdoor bike, get a bike for your home gym and work out from home. You will see a significant increase in stamina and leg strength in a matter of weeks if you stay consistent.
Rowing is arguably one of the most underrated exercises out there. A good rowing machine is a great low impact cardiovascular workout that will really benefit those looking to gain strength and preserve fatigue and muscle in the process. I highly recommend you look into a Rower if you haven’t done so.
Furthermore, if you’re into gaining muscle and stamina at the same time, you can’t go wrong with incorporating HIIT into your bodyweight routine. Give it your all for a few seconds, and then rest, and repeat.
If you want to improve your upper body strength, consider something like a rowing machine. It’s a great HIIT machine, and you can easily do a HIIT workout with it. You will see significant gains for your upper body, especially your back.
Get a HIIT Machine and Start Incorporating it!
Wrapping Up. HIIT is the perfect way to work out for those who want great results with shorter workouts. The higher intensities make sure we get the most out of our workout, and the best of all, we can do it anywhere and at any time.
Finally, if I had one recommendation for a great HIIT workout that is free I would say sprints or building up to sprints up a hill, both of which will turn you into a HIIT machine in no time. If you want to add a piece of equipment to your home gym for the express purpose of HIIT I would recommend an Elliptical or Stationary Bike.
If you have questions about what the best machine is for your needs reach out to us.
High-intensity interval training is a type of workout that involves bursts of higher intensity work, i.e. a higher heart rate, for short periods of time. This is then followed by a period of comparable rest that is significantly lower in intensity. The higher and lower intensities alternate back and forth for a given amount of time.