H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training)

by Antonio Sini ...

Intense
Intense

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. In turn you’ll burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.

How does it work?

Ideally, you work to your maximum capacity during the short bursts of activity, hence the use of "high intensity" to describe those intervals. Because you are pushing your limits, these workouts tend be shorter, rarely passing the 30-minute mark.

You can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, including running, swimming, and cycling, as well as strength training with exercises like burpees, squats, and push-ups. HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work-to-rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. For example, you work for 60 seconds at your max then rest for 30 seconds, repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets.

Workouts Are Quick - Because of its duration and efficiency, HIIT workouts are ideal for anyone with a busy schedule. Studies have shown exercise benefit in HIIT workouts lasting only 15 minutes.

Exercise Is Efficient - HIIT workouts help you lose body fat while keeping lean muscle. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores.

Increases Athletic Performance - For endurance athletes, adding one or two HIIT workouts to your weekly routine can provide a boost at the finish line. The reason: Working different aerobic systems improves endurance while building stronger fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can help deliver that final kick needed to finish strong. HIIT has been proven to increase your VO2 max, or your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy.

Things to consider before trying HIIT:

  • You will need a basic level of general strength, core strength and mobility.
  • Avoid this type of exercise if you have significant orthopedic limitations like back, knee or shoulder injuries.
  • Seek a doctor's consent if you have cardiovascular problems, such as heart palpitations or high blood pressure.
  • Only work with a qualified instructor who can provide guidance and knowledge about how to perform the exercises correctly and safely.

Give HIIT a try!

The key is to start slow and approach the workout at your own pace. That may mean trying interval training at home rather than signing up for a class right away. Working with a personal trainer who can customize a HIIT program specific to you is another great option. Contact us if you need help.