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High-Intensity Training Condenses an
Hour of Exercise into Ten Minutes


By Elliot Caleira

Why Are 10 Minute Exercises So Effective?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an old phenomenon that is being repackaged by many as new. The science behind HIIT is based on the belief that it doesn't matter how long you exercise in one shot. You can benefit more by breaking up your exercise routine during the day if it is more intense.

When you push your body to its limits with high-intensity workouts, your body is not able to send enough oxygen to the exerted cells fast enough. The cells respond to this by asking for more oxygen during the recovery period and forcing your body to work harder to replenish its oxygen supplies over an afterburn period of 16 - 24 hours. This also strengthens your body's capacity to convert oxygen into energy by stimulating the demand and conditioning the cells. The name of this phenomenon is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

EPOC is proven to burn fat cells much faster than endurance training at less intensity. A few five-minute sprints broken up can be much better for your raising your heart rate and increasing your EPOC response than an hour-long jog that puts excess stress on joints. Most athletes combine HIIT with other types of workouts to reap a variety of benefits. Athletes notice that the cardio routines that they previously did at a lower intensity become a lot easier after they have upped their EPOC and VO2 capacities. There is a key cardio target for bringing your heart rate between 70 and 80% of its capacity. Athletes are encouraged to rest for double the time they spent in the high-intensity regimen to see the best gains.

These HIIT exercise routines take time to build up your stamina. It is advised that people exercise doing low-intensity training on days that they are not doing HIIT. This will give the body plenty of time to recover and coordinate a natural response without hitting a wall of fatigue that can lead to injuries. Athletes like to incorporate HIIT into their training because it improves muscle twitch response that is important for sprint runners and athletes who are looking for that extra edge to win an endurance race.

Types of HIIT Exercises

On-the-Go Workouts
The types of exercises that people like to incorporate into HIIT routines are diverse. Some exercises can be as little as one minute. Due to the convenience, calisthenics make up the bulk of ultra-convenient HIIT exercises. This may include 50 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups, 20 squats, 50 sit-ups, 20 tricep dips, or even dance moves. A simple on-the-go exercise that people can do anywhere in 10 minutes is what it is about. If you are already addicted to that runner's high, sprint running whenever you have an open and free space is a great method of building up your daily stamina and reaping the benefits of the EPOC afterburn post workout.

Gym Workouts
If you attend a gym, it may be more convenient to simply do a slight warm-up on the treadmill or exercise bike and then plunge into hitting the maximum speed whenever possible for a few seconds or minutes at a time. Of course, this should be progressively taken to prevent injuries. Wearing lighter running shoes can reduce the impact weight that tends to make these intense activities more of a weightlifting contest. You only need anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour tops to achieve the benefits of HIIT. As a result, you should try to incorporate it at the end of your workout if you have a lot of time or make it your sole cardio workout after a heavy lifting session.


No matter what your fitness goals or what your lifestyle may be, it is never too late to develop that hunger for athleticism that comes naturally when you push yourself. Develop your own HIIT routines and see for yourself how well they work.

Elliot CaleiraElliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.

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