6 Reasons Why You Should Hit That HIIT Routine in 2021

Let this exercise regime help you achieve all your fitness goals.

By Chris Ong      22 January 2021

It’s 2021, and you figure it’s time to realise that one resolution that makes the list of almost everyone – exercise more. Except that you might just not have enough time to do so. Busy work schedule, family obligations, the tasks of day-to-day living; sometimes, there’s no time left to squeeze out for a run or the gym, never mind dedicating yourself to exercising regularly.

No such problems (or excuses) when it comes to HIIT (high intensity interval training). Basically, it’s short bouts of high intensity exercises such as sprinting and jumping jacks, alternated with either less intense activity or intervals of rest and recovery, with repeated sequences lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. The result: You get to reap the benefits of longer-duration exercise in a shorter period.

Not convinced about how time-efficient HIIT workouts can, well, work out, for you? We detail 6 reasons to test out this exercise system for the new year.

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HIIT can help you lose calories quicker

Okay, all forms of exercise are supposed to burn calories. But, studies have shown that you can burn the same amount of calories as some other typical forms of exercise such as biking and running, but spend less time actually physically exerting yourself. Since HIIT is composed of bursts of maximal effort and periods of rest, you aren’t exercising throughout the workout, plus HIIT sessions tend to be briefer than other traditional exercise sessions, which translates to you burning a possible 23 to 30 percent more calories than other forms of exercise in the same active time frame! As HIIT consists of a series of anaerobic activities, it uses the body’s energy reserves, stimulates calorie-burning and metabolises fat for fuel during the workout, thereby aiding in reducing body fat despite the low time commitment.

HIIT burns calories and fat… even after you finish exercising

Yes, you read right: even when the training’s stopped, your body continues to work it, thanks to Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). After a HIIT workout, your metabolic rate is boosted and stays elevated (for up to 24 hours even), and your oxygen consumption is increased such that your body’s metabolism shifts to burning fat (up to 9 times faster) instead of just carbohydrates for energy. Less science-y speaking, due to HIIT’s high intensity, you will burn calories and tap into fat stores to replace your energy after you are done sweating it out. Sweet!

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HIIT won’t make you lose your gym gains

While HIIT uses up calories and fats, you don’t have to worry about losing muscle mass, especially if you are also on a diet which might lead to muscle loss along with your unwanted fat. In fact, HIIT produces muscle-building anabolic hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone that assist in developing lean muscle volume and definition while repairing damaged muscle proteins. In contrast to sustained steady-state cardio workouts that can use muscle as fuel, HIIT allows dieters to grow and maintain muscle mass effectively since it burns calories and fat instead. HIIT sessions also let you train up different sets of muscles, so you not only look lean and toned, but also be athletically fit and flexible.

HIIT makes your heart beat faster but better

HIIT routines are cardiovascular in nature; your heart rate and oxygen consumption are pushed to the limit during such sessions. Your body’s VO2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen utilised during exercise) is increased; blood flow, dilation and cardiovascular system as a whole are improved; heart and lungs are strengthened; and in the longer term, your overall stamina and endurance will get better due to a more efficient cardiorespiratory capacity, with less recovery time needed. Phew. All wins, no losses, then.

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HIIT doesn’t need all the bells and whistles

Unnerved by the sheer number and types of complicated machines and devices at the gym? Or, find that certain exercise routines or activities (e.g. yoga and Pilates) too new and difficult to follow and follow through? While the HIIT regime can include the employment of treadmills, stationery bicycles and other equipment, most of the exercises just require your willing spirit and body. All you need is some space and knowledge of the most basic of exercise movements like jump rope and cycling.

HIIT lets you choose your own adventure

There are many options for the kinds of activities and movements to make up a HIIT routine, such as jogging on the spot, body weight exercises and burpees. You just need to experiment and choose what you like, the duration and intensity, the number of repetitions, when, and of course, where to beast it up.

HIIT class at SAFRA
Photo: SAFRA

Want to start on your HIIT workout journey? Sign up for SAFRA EnergyOne Gym’s HIIT programme which features dedicated trainers to help you with your HIIT regime. EnergyOne Gym conducts HIIT classes every Tuesday, with training sessions that incorporate functional movements over 45 minutes of high-intensity interval training. Visit www.safra.sg/energyone-gym to find out more.

Featured image: Shutterstock