HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It's a form of interval training that uses short periods of high intensity work followed by longer periods of low to moderate work. It's a great way to torch calories, boost your metabolism, can help you use fat as fuel and some studies show it limits muscle loss (compared to other forms of cardio).
The great thing about HIIT is that you can apply to just about any cardio workout weather it's on the elliptical, treadmill, track, stair climber, bike, etc. The intervals are totally customizable as well! How many intervals and how long each interval lasts it total up to you. The key is during the burst of high intensity work you push yourself to maximum intensity (which is different for everyone).
Last week I took my GymBoss timer to the high school track with me and got on heck of a workout done in a short amount of time. If you don't have a timer like this you can use different apps on your phone to set your intervals. I do love my GymBoss timer though. It's so easy to set intervals, rounds and alarms. I set it and forget about it. No fussing with my phone or checking my watch to make sure I'm on track!
After a good warm up, the HIIT portion of my workout was 20 seconds on at full sprint with 40 seconds recovery for 12 rounds. I usually sprint on the treadmill but taking this baby outside was totally different, and by different I mean hard! It was chilly. It was windy. It was a challenge to say the least. But I remind myself....
And of course a little word on safety before I leave you....These are the workouts I do and should you choose to try them you are doing so at your own risk. I know many of you could do workouts like these but please be smart, listen to your body. Check out these HIIT guidelines from SparkPeople before you try a HIIT workout of your own.
General HIIT Guidelines from SparkPeople.com
- HIIT is designed for people whose primary concerns are boosting overall cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and fat loss, without losing the muscle mass they already have.
- Before starting any HIIT program, you should be able to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your estimated maximum heart rate, without exhausting yourself or having problems.
- Because HIIT is physically demanding, it’s important to gradually build up your training program so that you don’t overdo it.
- Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after each HIIT session.
- Work as hard as you can during the high intensity intervals, until you feel the burning sensation in your muscles indicating that you have entered your anaerobic zone. Elite athletes can usually sustain maximum intensity exercise for three to five minutes before they have to slow down and recover, so don’t expect to work longer than that.
- Full recovery takes about four minutes for everyone, but you can shorten the recovery intervals if your high intensity intervals are also shorter and don’t completely exhaust your anaerobic energy system.
- If you experience any chest pain or breathing difficulties during your HIIT , cool down immediately. (Don't just stop or else blood can pool in your extremities and lightheadedness or faintness can occur.)
- If your heart rate does not drop back down to about 70% of your max during recovery intervals, you may need to shorten your work intervals and/or lengthen your recovery intervals.
- HIIT is not for beginner exercisers or people with cardiovascular problems or risk factors. If you have cardiovascular problems or risk factors should NOT attempt HIIT unless your doctor has specifically cleared you for this kind of exercise.
Your turn! Have you or do you incorporate HIIT in your exercise routine? How do you HIIT it?