High Intensity Interval Training has been all the rage the past few years, and for good reason! I use a ton of HIIT Training in my Fit Figure Training Program, and you will see why. It is a great way to promote fat burn while maintaining muscle mass[i]. In this post, I will share with you more about what HIIT is, why and how to do it, and some pre-made workouts you can do. I use a ton of HIIT Training in my Fit Figure Training Program, and you will see why.
What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is when you alternate between periods of high intensity exercise and low intensity exercise, or when you alternate between a high intensity exercise and a period of rest.
Because these tend to be more explosive, high energy movements, you don’t need as long of a workout to get a lot done. Here are some examples of what this might look like:
Doing 12 burpees followed by a set of chest press.
Sprinting as hard as you can for 20 seconds on a treadmill then walking slow for 1 minute.
12 Burpees followed by 45 seconds of rest.
20 seconds of high knees followed by 10 seconds of rest (this common 20/10 HIIT training style is known as Tabata).
Benefits of HIIT
As I mentioned above, this mode of training is effective for long term fat-loss while maintaining muscle mass, but it has many other benefits[ii]:
Improves cardiovascular conditioning.
A good workout in a short amount of time.
Helps develop mental toughness.
Challenges fast twitch muscle fibres (the power fibres that make you look toned).
Can lower insulin resistance.
Improves overall health and fitness.
How to HIIT + Estimating Max Heart Rate
There are a variety of ways you can perform HIIT and it can be easily be adjusted for your fitness level.
I suggest aiming to get your heart rate (HR) between 70-90% your Max Heart Rate before letting it drop back down to about 55-65% for the rest period. To estimate max heart rate, just use the following equation:
220 – Age = Max Heart Rate
So for example, if you are 35, your max heart rate would be approximately 185 beats per minute (bpm).If you times that by .70 (for 70%), you would get ~130 bpm. That means your goal is to get your heart rate up above 130bpm during your high intensity interval. Calculate it the same for the resting heart rates as well (55-65%).
Heart rate monitors are great resources for tracking heart rate. I use a fit bit, but other brands work just as well.
If you don’t want to purchase a heart rate monitor, then just monitor you exertion and breathing once you finish. After the high intensity interval, it should be hard for you to talk and have a conversation. You are ready to go again when you can start to have a normal conversation without too much heavy breathing.
Example HIIT Workouts
Here are some example HIIT workouts. Two you can do on a treadmill and then I include two videos I have created for HIIT workouts as well.
Depending on how easy or challenging these are for you, you can always adjust the time interval. If you need more rest, then take a longer rest period. If the high intensity interval seems too easy, then bump up the speed, intensity, resistance or the time period you are doing it for.
Perform a light 5 minute jogging warm up.
30 second run at 7-10mph.
1 minute walking recovery.
Repeat 30 sec run with 1 min recovery for a total of 10 times.
If this seems too challenging, then you can perform the following.
Perform a light 5 minute walking warm up.
Increase the treadmill speed to 2.5mph and incline to between 3-5%.
Walk at this speed and incline for 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to 3-4mph and increase the incline to 5-8% for 1 minute.
Once completed, decrease the speed and incline back to the starting settings for 2 minutes.
Repeat for a total of 8 times.
Here is a HIIT workouts you can do at home with no equipment!
You can always find more of these resources on YouTube for free. Try super setting exercises. This means pairing 20 seconds of a higher intensity exercise (burpee, squat jump, high knees) with a lower intensity or strength based exercise (plank, row, pushup, deadlift). Suppersetting with a high intesity exercise is a great way to get your heart rate up.
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