Whether you are just getting started in the world of fitness or have been around for a while, you have probably heard about high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT is designed to burn fat in a very short period, lasting anywhere from 3 to 60 minutes. A HIIT workout alternates between high and low-intensity exercises — known as rest periods — for a particular time. With this in mind, you are probably wondering, “how long should my HIIT workouts be? Well, the answer depends on a few different factors, so let’s take a look at what you need to know:
The Science Behind HIIT Workouts
Several studies, including one of Olympic level skaters, have found that high-intensity interval training, with intervals of intense training followed by short rest periods, work better at conditioning than a normal steady cardio workout would. Subsequent studies have supported the original findings and suggested that high-intensity exercise effectively burns more calories and fat, aiding weight loss and even insulin levels.
Why Does HIIT Work?
We can tell you that the main objective of HIIT workouts is to perform high-intensity exercise to get very close to your maximum heart rate. At first, it may be a good idea to use a heart rate monitor to keep track of the amount of stress you are under. This is because HIIT is designed to help you reach a stage in which your body is working anaerobically, which helps burn more calories throughout the day as it recovers from the intense workout.
How Long Your HIIT Workouts Should Be
For anybody considering the incorporation of HIIT into their regular workout regime, this is possibly the most pressing question and one to which they will find many different answers.
One highly publicized study suggests that only 7 minutes of HIIT are necessary. On the other hand, some say that one hour is what works best for them.
The truth is that how long your HIIT workouts should be will depend exclusively on who you ask. Even so, our team has found that more time doesn’t necessarily mean optimal results. Since the end goal of HIIT is to get as close as possible to your maximum heart rate for your cells to work anaerobically towards burning fat, 30 minutes may be the sweet spot for most people. This is as long as you alternate a high-intensity work period with a recovery period in regular intervals several times per week. The trick is to continue experimenting with times until you find the perfect amount of time for your fat-burning needs.
An Important Thing to Keep In Mind
Wondering how long your HIIT workouts should be is not enough; you must also ask yourself what you wish to accomplish with this type of training. While HIIT is a great way to burn fat and maintain your current muscle mass. However, if your end goal is beyond getting leaner, you may have to add strength training to your daily exercise regime.