4½ ways a HIIT workout benefits you long after you’ve left the studio

In a time-strapped world filled with chronic work-from-anywhere aches and pains, Zoom fatigue, and findings that we’re moving 20% less since lockdown, South Africans need a solid full-body workout now more than ever. 

Working from home often means fewer breaks, longer working hours, and less time to focus on health, wellbeing, and physical fitness in this always-on world. 


Ceri Hannan, National Product Development Manager at Virgin Active, believes that the key to reigniting our bodies (and minds) lies in fast-paced high-intensity interval training – better known as HIIT – to get everything from our hearts to our muscles, and most importantly our endorphins going. 

“The best part of a HIIT workout lies in the benefits that come after the workout,” says Hannan. “As we struggle to balance work, home life, hobbies, and maintaining a fitness routine, HIIT provides the perfect solution for those looking for a short burst of activity with long-term results. One 45-minute HIIT session can continue to have beneficial calorie-burning results for up to 24 hours later”.

Below are 4.5 reasons why a 45-minute HIIT class may be just what you’re looking for: 

HIIT today, burn tomorrow

Not only do you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time with HIIT workouts, research shows that your metabolic rate remains higher for much longer periods after you’ve completed the exercise. Starting your day with a high-intensity workout will quite literally help you to burn calories throughout the day, whether you’re working from the boardroom or the comfort of your bed. 

HIIT workouts can boost your endurance

Part of the challenge of a HIIT workout is the mental preparation and grit it takes to get yourself amped and ready while maintaining the stamina to give it your all while you’re activating multiple muscle groups in your body. The mental endurance you will develop, master, and practice when you consistently challenge the body and mind will have a positive overflow effect in your everyday life and approach to tough situations and life’s challenges. 

HIIT can increase VO2 max 

VO₂ max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption that is measured during incremental exercise – that is, the exercise of increasing intensity. VO2 max is a representation of how much oxygen your body uses during exercise at maximum effort and is regarded as the best indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness. Consistent high-intensity training is said to improve oxygen consumption, as well as oxygen and blood flow which ultimately result in a healthier – and stronger – fitness level.

Hack Heart Health with HIIT

Embarking on any form of fitness journey and exercise programme is already a step in the right direction for overall health and wellness, with cardio and interval training top of the list for a healthy heart and lungs. HIIT workouts are said to dramatically strengthen cardio fitness, reduce heart rate, and assist in lowering and regulating blood pressure. HIIT may help improve heart health in people with good health, as well as in those with cardiovascular conditions. It may also help to improve measures of metabolic health, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

We challenge you to HIIT the lights out

A fun, music-fuelled high-intensity workout that warms up the body and gets you moving is – for many – a much more enjoyable exercise experience and a break from the norm of weight training or a tired cardio routine. Whether you’re exercising in a club, outdoors or streaming an online Virgin Active workout, you’ll be part of an endorphin-filled community that will fuel your movements and drive you to become a stronger, faster, fitter version of yourself. The group’s energy becomes your energy and together you’ll HIIT the lights out! 

GRID is our own unique high-intensity interval training programme that provides a full-body workout with short classes of 45 minutes that will get you working hard, fast and burning lots of calories along the way! The classes challenge members to push themselves beyond their limits, with scalable reps and instructor-led demonstration to accommodate any fitness level or gym goer looking to level up their training experience,” says Hannan. “Music plays a critical role in the overall exercise experience. We’ve partnered with Jon White, Ministry of Sound Tours Resident and international DJ, to put together the unique GRID playlist that allows for a deeply immersive experience.”

So whether you’re a bodybuilder, swimmer, cyclist, avid road runner, or just your everyday gym-goer, the benefits of a HIIT workout are undeniable. It’s the perfect addition to your current fitness regime that is guaranteed to keep you coming back for more!

Author: Logan Leigh Rix

Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.

Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She's also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.

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