How HIIT Workouts Can Transform Your Health and Boost Fat Loss

If you haven’t tried High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), then get ready to discover a game-changer for your fitness routine. HIIT involves alternating short bursts of intense exercise with brief recovery periods. For example, you can perform 30 seconds of intense exercise and then 30 seconds of rest, repeating this cycle. This approach is not only incredibly effective but also super efficient and fun! As a bonus, it can be done with or without equipment, making it a great option when you are short on time or don’t have access to the gym

HIIT has gained popularity because it delivers quick results, burns calories fast, improves heart health, boosts metabolism, and can even benefit your brain health. At Rocky Mountain Flex, we offer free weekly 45-minute HIIT classes that are designed to maximize these benefits, providing an effective workout that fits into your busy schedule while helping you achieve your fitness goals. So, why not join us and experience the transformative benefits of HIIT? Let’s dive into the many reasons why you should start HIIT training today!

What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a powerful exercise method that alternates between short, intense bursts of activity and periods of rest or low-intensity movement. During the intense bursts of exercise, you will push yourself to 80% to 95% of your maximum heart rate. The recovery phases, matching the duration of the intense bursts, are performed at 40% to 50% of your maximum heart rate. This pattern continues throughout the workout, which typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes. Of course, make sure you warm up on the turf first to prevent injuries.

To determine your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220 bpm, then multiply that by 80-95%. You will want to use a wearable that monitors heart rate, such as a Whoop, Garmin, Polar, Fitbit, or Apple Watch, or do a VO2 Max test in your local area.

What sets HIIT apart from traditional cardio is its variability. Instead of maintaining a constant pace, HIIT keeps your body guessing with fluctuating intensities. This approach not only enhances cardiovascular fitness but also burns more calories and improves muscle endurance. The intense effort required for HIIT boosts your metabolism significantly, resulting in continued calorie burning even after the workout ends.

Originally used by athletes to enhance performance as it utilizes your type 2, fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are used in more explosive movements. Over the years, HIIT has become a popular workout choice no matter your fitness level, due to its efficiency and effectiveness. It delivers substantial health benefits in a shorter time compared to low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio.

Examples of HIIT exercises you can do at Rocky Mountain Flex

  • SkiErg: Perform rapid, powerful pulls for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
  • Battle Ropes: Alternate double-arm waves and slams for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds.
  • Box Jumps: Jump onto a box repeatedly for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest.
  • Rowing: Row at maximum effort for 500 meters, then rest for 1 minute.
  • Boxing: Perform fast-paced punches (jab, cross, hook) for 1 minute, then rest for 30 seconds.
  • Kettlebells: Do kettlebell swings for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
  • Sprints on the AssaultRunner: Sprint at full speed for 30 seconds, then walk or jog lightly for 30 seconds.
  • Stationary Bike (New Sole SB900 bikes are arriving soon): Cycle at high resistance for 1 minute, then pedal slowly for 30 seconds.
  • Stair Climber: Climb rapidly for 1 minute, then slow down for 30 seconds.
  • Jump Rope: Jump at a fast pace for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest.
  • Medicine Ball Slams: Slam the ball down or at the padded wall with maximum force for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds.
  • Torque Tank Sled Push/Pull: Push or pull the sled with all-out effort down to the end of the turf,, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Health and Fitness Benefits of HIIT

HIIT for balancing blood sugar

High-Intensity Interval Training is highly effective for balancing blood sugar levels, especially beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk. HIIT improves insulin sensitivity, enabling your muscles to metabolize glucose more efficiently, which lowers blood sugar levels. Research shows HIIT can enhance insulin sensitivity more than moderate-intensity continuous training. By promoting fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass, HIIT supports better metabolic health and glucose regulation, making it an essential part of managing and preventing diabetes.

HIIT can burn more calories and for longer periods of time after your workout

A typical HIIT session can burn a significant number of calories in a short period of time, thanks to the high-intensity intervals. Studies have shown that HIIT may burn more calories in a 30 minute session than 30 minutes of other forms of exercise such as running, biking, and weight training. 

HIIT also increases your resting metabolic rate, helping you burn calories long after the workout is over, known as the afterburn effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, meaning you continue to burn calories at an elevated rate for hours post-exercise. Consistent HIIT training can lead to long-term metabolic improvements, making your body more efficient at burning calories and fat around the midsection, which is essential for weight management.

HIIT is highly effective at burning fat, especially in stubborn areas. While you can’t spot reduce fat in specific areas of your body, research has shown that you can reduce body fat and waist circumference with HIIT. 

But keep in mind that if your goal is to achieve a leaner physique, it takes more than just exercise alone. You must take a well-rounded approach to fat loss by eating in a caloric deficit, consuming enough protein to support your body’s needs, managing stress, and avoiding being sedentary when you aren’t in the gym. If you need help getting started with a personalized plan, reach out to one of our Denver personal trainers for guidance!

HIIT improves cardiovascular health and your VO2 capacity

HIIT effectively strengthens the heart by challenging the cardiovascular system with intense bursts of activity, improving overall heart function by increasing your peak VO2 capacity, which is the amount of oxygen that your body can use during exercise. A high VO2 max is not just a good indicator of cardiovascular endurance, it is also associated with a higher mortality rate. Regular HIIT workouts can also help lower blood pressure, contributing to better cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Mental health and brain-enhancing benefits of HIIT

HIIT workouts trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, which help reduce stress and anxiety. The mental challenge of pushing through intense intervals also builds mental resilience, equipping you to handle stress more effectively and boosting your self-confidence. Research has also shown that HIIT may enhance brain function by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain during intense exercise and improving memory and cognitive processing speeds.

Prioritize recovery

Your body needs time to recover after an intense workout. Make sure you’re allowing yourself enough rest and recovery days. Getting adequate sleep (aiming for 7-8 hours a night), foam rolling, and stretching are all crucial for preventing burnout, preventing injuries that will set you back, and optimizing your performance. Remember, it’s not always about pushing harder but also about giving your body the chance to heal and grow stronger.

And don’t forget, at Rocky Mountain Flex, all of our group fitness classes are free for all of our members! We offer a variety of yoga, HIIT, and mobility classes that are led by our certified trainers and instructors. We like to add variety for our members, so check out our class schedule to see what our current class offerings are.

Looking for an awesome gym in Denver with a great community of people who are passionate about their health? Look no further than Rocky Mountain Flex! Sign up for our FREE 7-Day Trial Membership and check out our gym in Denver’s Baker area.