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HIIT Explanation and My Favorite HIIT Method.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One of the big buzzes in the fitness world today is HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. What this means is working at super-high intensities for a short period, then at a lower recovery intensity for a short period, over and over, again for about 20 minutes or so.

There are several advantages to this, but here are my three favorites:

1. It helps to develop your system to be able to do longer, steady-state cardio at a higher intensity, therefore increasing your heart strength. This has the domino effect of burning more of calories during ALL of your cardio sessions, even the longer, steady-state ones.

2. According to studies, it keeps you burning calories longer AFTER the workout than regular steady-state cardio does. (This "after burn", by the way, is referred to EPOC. For the life of me, I can never remember what that acronym stands for.)

3. It gets the misery over quicker.

A good way to get started with HIIT sessions is to do a 3 minute warm-up, then move on to 15 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 1 minute and 45 seconds of a recovery jog pace. Repeat this 2-minute cycle (15 seconds fast, 1:45 jog) until you get to the 20 minute mark, then do a 2-minute cool down.

Over time you can increase the work phase by 15 seconds and decrease the jog phase by 15 seconds, until you get to a minute of each. This is very effective. It also starts to get boring.

So here is a HIIT plan I adapted from something I read in one of my fitness publications. The beauty of it is that as your strength increases, your pace will, too. It grows with you. I'll post it like you are on a bike, but you can adapt this for any piece of cardio equipment:

- Start through 3:00- Warmup

- For each minute through 8:00, increase the intensity by 1-2 levels, keeping your RPM's between 60 and 70. By the time you get to minute 8:00, you should be struggling to keep your RPM's in the target range of 60-70.

- 8:00-10:00 Lower the resistance to your warm-up level and free wheel at a recovery jog pace.

- 10:00-11:00, move the level up to what your highest level was in the first round (minute 7:00-8:00) and pedal as fast as you can. (This should be REALLY hard by the end of the minute- Push through!)

- 11:00-12:00, back to recovery jog level/pace

- Repeat those two minutes (1 minute hard as possible at highest level with 1 minute recovery) four more times. This should bring you to 20:00 on your timer.

- 20:00-22:00 cool down.

At this point, you should be dripping in sweat and more than ready for the blessed cardio session to end already. If you aren't, you didn't work hard enough.

And if you were able to keep up with an episode of "I didn't know I was pregnant" while doing this routine, you weren't working hard enough, either. :-D

I'd recommend giving at least 48 hours between HIIT sessions. Especially to start. Or at least switch machines frequently. Just like any other exercise strategy, mixing it up is always the safest thing for the body. While it's a wonderful form of cardio, I've found HIIT can be pretty taxing on the system and injuries are more likely if there is not adequate rest between sessions.

Let me know what you think!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    LOVE it! Best way to shed the fat for sure!! (:
    1857 days ago
    Great info ! EPOC is something post oxygen consumption but I forget what the E is for..I guess I could google

    I also like #3 the best
    1880 days ago
    I love HIIT! here is one for you 100 burpees in 10mins or less!
    works everything and you will be covered in sweat!
    1881 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/25/2013 4:12:55 PM
    Sounds like a good plan. I'm an HIIT fan for cardio in between lifting days. I vary it between bike, elliptical, rower, etc.

    Not sure if you have any interest, but for me HIIT is always easier with music. I took a chance on this website to download some tunes where the guy has varying types of intervals (30 sec on with 30, 60, or 90 sec rests, 60 sec on with 60 & 120 secs off, etc).

    The audio cues are what sold me. I hear "get ready in 1, 2, 3, sprint" and "you're halfway through your rest period", "you have 4 intervals left" etc)

    When going all out, I've found the audio cueing to help keep me on track.


    Good blog!
    1886 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2013 12:50:37 PM
  • IRP1114
    Thank you for the info! It is so true hiit builds up endurance. I have had a favorite routine that I can squeeze in first thing in the morning on the treadmill after warming up 5 min I do 30sec sprints then 20squats right on the treadmill followed by 90sec recovery repeating 3-8 times (depending on time) increasing the incline after each one starting on incline 3 for the first sprint. I have been mostly doing this and not very many long runs. In months really. I mentioned this to you before but I was limiting miles to try and focus more on building.
    Point is this week I just ran for stress release running until I ran out of time or energy and ended up running 8miles straight. Not fast of course but I did not feel tired. I do believe it was the longest run straight ever. I may have done longer before but with breaks. So you are right about how it can build endurance :-)!
    1888 days ago
    Now that I am back on the exercise wagon, I plan on HIIT workouts. I will use HIIT coupled with interval C25K workouts. I have some weight-loss goals I want to hit and cannot do it by diet alone.
    1888 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this Nancy! Looks good!
    1888 days ago
  • ROCKMAN6797
    I truly "hate" HITT LOL
    I find when I do this type of training my body is literally drenched with sweat, gasping for breath, but feeling so exhilarated! The calories you burn in such a time period is amazing. Finally, make sure you have some very inspiring music on your iPod, it helps tremendously when you need to push your body.
    1888 days ago
    Excellent article!! Point 3 is my favorite reason lol.... I Struggle with cardio.....Thanks for sharing emoticon
    1889 days ago
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