Fitness Articles

High Intensity Interval Training

Take Your Fitness and Fat Loss to the Next Level

After completing this eight-week program, you can continue working to increase the number of work intervals per session, the duration of work intervals, or both.

You can adjust this training plan to accommodate your particular needs and goals. If you find that this schedule is either too difficult or too easy for your current fitness level, you can make adjustments to the duration and/or number of high intensity intervals as necessary. For example, if you want to train yourself for very short, frequent bursts of maximum intensity activity, your program could involve sprinting for 20 seconds and jogging/walking for 60 seconds, and repeating that 15-20 times per session.

You don’t need to swap all of your aerobic exercise for HIIT to gain the benefits. A good balance, for example, might be two sessions of HIIT per week, along with 1-2 sessions of steady-state aerobic exercise. As usual, moderation is the key to long-term success, so challenge yourself—but don’t drive yourself into the ground. Get ready to see major changes in your body and your fitness level!
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

    They just brought in a new sprinting machine at my gym that kicks ass...itís called the HiTrainer. The 3 minute interval protocols are beyond what I've ever done. After 2 weeks of doing it 3 times a week I already feel a big difference. Check out their website to see some videos - 8/12/2014 4:15:58 PM
  • Good Article. - 6/10/2014 2:35:22 AM
  • MARYO125
    HIIT really does WONDERS. I got turned onto this type of workout about two years ago and I feel toner than ever. I use 'HIIT Mix' a coached HIIT music-based workout on my iPod by a company called Motion Traxx. Fitness trainer Jessica Smith talks you through the entire workout, letting you know when to start, stop, keep the pace, and how much longer till the next interval. Itís absolutely amazing and has made HIIT one of my go-to workouts! I recommend to everybody I know: http://motiontrax
    iit-mix/. - 2/26/2014 12:49:11 PM
    Good article. I like trying HIIT workouts. They are great. Makes you feel like you accomplished something in a little bit of time. - 2/11/2014 9:08:08 AM
    thanks for this article Dean. I am going to try this! - 8/21/2013 1:52:38 PM
  • This is the natural way for martial arts to be practiced, so I'd say as a form of exercise it goes back several centuries at least. I've done this type of workout since my early 20s, and now at 59 I'm very healthy and in good shape; genetics has something to do with that I'm sure but so does my method of exercise. I've always listened to my body as the saying goes when doing this kind of exercise: I just do the movements as fast and hard as I can until I get so tired I have to stop, then rest until I'm ready to do it again. If you do martial art movements right you get a full body workout: there is a good variety of movement, and all of it involves the whole body, especially the midsection. - 8/7/2013 12:58:38 PM
  • Love the article. Thank you LJOHNES - 8/6/2013 10:23:13 AM
  • WANDAC2013
    "run and hide after saying the wrong thing to your spouse"...kinda scary thing to joke about considering the prevalence of domestic abuse. I get it that Dean didn't mean it in an abusive situation, but as a survivor it hit me wrong. I'm sure a better, equally "funny" example could have been found. - 8/5/2013 12:23:35 PM

    I think you can do it just by tracking time spent and distance/reps. For instance, if you're running/walking it will take you less time to go 1 mile doing HIIT than it would just walking. I think :P
    Hope that works!
    - 7/30/2013 2:48:55 PM
    Does anyone know how to track this on the fitness tracker, in terms of calories etc? - 7/3/2013 11:49:25 AM
    HIIT is the best thing! :) - 6/14/2013 8:47:41 PM
  • "run and hide from your spouse after saying the wrong thing" ... HAHA! - 6/14/2013 9:37:59 AM
    I was in the best shape of my life when I did HIIT. And to me, it's easier to stick to...not because it's less intense, but because it's short! You can do HIIT on any machine and it's pretty easy. Just start out, for example, on level 4 on an eliptical for a few minutes, then crank it up to level 13 for 2 minutes, then back down. IOn a treadmill I would walk fast for 3 minutes then run as fast as I can for 2 minutes then repeat. IT's that simple. I did it about 3 times a week for 12 - 30 minutes each day. I'm naturally muscular so when I did this training, my muslce cuts began to show through immensely after a couple of months. I highly recommend this type of training and can't wait to move into my new house (which will give me the room for equipment) to start this up again! - 6/14/2013 9:09:53 AM
    Does anybody know how important it is to return to 70% MHR between intervals? I ask because I've been doing the Jillian Michaels workouts on DVD and my heart rate, though it goes up and down, doesn't ever return to 70% between harder intervals. Should I press pause to get more benefit from HIIT workouts, or do I get more benefit from just staying high and sometimes going higher? Thanks for any advice! - 6/14/2013 3:35:58 AM
  • HIIT vs LSD (Long Slow Distance): In the 1980s Mark Allan of Triathelon fame made famous his LSD method of training. LSD is simply the opposite of HIIT. In other words, you move slowly and workout for a long time and over a long distance and you stop working out long before you hit the wall. I followed LSD back then and lost tons of weight. However, I also lost tons of weight following the "low-fat-diet" craze which was a bad idea, because I ended-up gaining back all the weight. Now, I am doing "muscle confusion" and a little HIIT off-and-on and eating clean super foods and avoiding unhealthy choices. It seems that HIIT is less time consuming (but harder) and changing-it-up seems to work well in keeping the body from adjusting. I believe that this has increased my metabolic rate. I am going to stick with HIIT for a while. - 6/3/2013 4:32:07 PM
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