HIIT has quickly become a new fad in exercise but what is it really except for looking like hit misspelled? First of all HIIT actually stands for High Intensity Interval Training. There are different ways of doing this workout but in general terms you start with a warm up for approximately two minutes. This can be on a piece of gym equipment like a treadmill or elliptical or it could be without equipment like walking outside or even in your own living room marching in place.

The purpose of the warm up is to get your muscles loosened up and your heart rate to increase but not to the point of being in the cardio range, more the fat burning range. After the warmup you then do a HIGH intensity workout (think as hard and fast as possible) for just thirty seconds this can be running at a high speed on the gym equipment or doing something like burpees or jumping jacks at your home. If you are using gym equipment and you have the option to incline the machine to increase your workout intensity, you should. Granted some of this will take a bit of dexterity pushing all the buttons quickly but it will help to increase your heart rate to the cardio levels.

Following the intense 30-second workout you then go back to your more relaxed pace for 90-seconds that you started out with on the gym equipment or in your home. This can include quick walking, sit ups or something else that keeps your heart rate up but not to the cardio level.

The idea with HIIT is that you are training your heart to recover in the 90-second resting interval from cardio levels back to more fat burning levels. It is this training that helps the heart recover faster according to the experts in HIIT.

After the 90-second recovery interval you then go back to the more intense 30-second interval training. The total number of 30-second sets followed by the 90-second recovery is 8. Once the 8 sets (120 seconds) have been finished there follows a cooldown it can be about two minutes long or longer depending on personal preferences.

An HIIT program will take 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week1 and an example of one is below.
As always consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program to make sure it is the right fit for you.

Example of HIIT program:

Warm Up 2 minutes: Brisk walk in place
Elliptical level 2 incline speed around 30-60 revs per minute

Round 1
30-second High Intensity: Jumping Jacks
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Sit ups
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 2
30-second High Intensity: Burpees
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Squats
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 3
30-second High Intensity: Squat Jumps
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Leg Raises
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 4
30-second High Intensity: Side Kicks
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- One leg squats
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 5
30-second High Intensity: Jumping Jacks
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Sit ups
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 6
30-second High Intensity: Burpees
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Squats
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Round 7
30-second High Intensity: Squat Jumps
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- Leg Raises
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30- 60 revs

Round 8
30-second High Intensity: Side Kicks
Elliptical level 4-8 incline and speed 40-80 revs (both personal preference)

90-second recovery- One leg squats
Elliptical 3 level incline and speed 30-60 revs

Cool Down 2 Minutes or More: Walk in place
Elliptical level 1-2 incline and speed 20-40 revs (both personal preference but I find it easier to start out a bit faster and every twenty to thirty seconds decrease the speed and incline until the heart rate is down.)

Another workout example for HIIT for beginners can be using walking, jogging and sprinting. The two minute warm up can be used jogging and then begin sprinting for 15-20 seconds depending on preference2. After that then walk briskly or even jog at a slower pace for one minute2. This can be repeated for 10-20 minutes again depending on preferences2.

From exercise to eating, health seems to exist ideally when we try to behave more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It would be rare to fight, hunt, be chased or chase something for very long. We’d get away, catch our food or possibly be eaten ourselves! We also wouldn’t be eating all day or even everyday (stay tuned for intermittent fasting articles). HIIT has been shown to naturally boost testosterone 3 and HGH 4 which keep us toned and dramatically slows the aging process. It has also been shown to improve blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics5.

References:

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/15-minute-full-body-hiit-workout-no-equipment-required-ncna977711 Opens in new window
  2. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a25424850/best-hiit-exercises-workout/ Opens in new window
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940266 Opens in new window
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25096178 Opens in new window
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30270019 Opens in new window