Everything You Need To Know About HIIT


A conversation about fitness is never complete without mentioning high intensity interval training. It is often associated with sweating, panting and a lot of burpees. HIIT is a very specific type of fitness training. HIIT is different from general interval training or high intensity training. With the right implementation, HIIT is a very effective way to work out and see achieve the fitness goals you want.

Facts about HIIT

1.) Intensity is key, work is necessary

HIIT is a form of cardio exercise with short bursts of energetic and very hard work followed by intervals of short breaks. The point of HIIT is to increase the intensity of any cardio exercise that you are doing. True HIIT requires you to push yourself to the limit in every cardio exercise set. It is precisely for this reason that the sets are as short as 20 to 90 seconds. Studies show that working your hardest is important in:

  • Boosting endurance

  • Increasing metabolism

  • Regulating insulin levels

  • Losing body fat

  • Gets you shredded

The more intense an exercise is, the more fat is burned.

HIIT involves routines such as:

  • Bodyweight work e.g. Push ups

  • Added weight e.g. kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells

These exercises tone your muscles and spike your heart rate.

However, you will need a little to get used to the level of intensity. The rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale is used to gauge whether you are working hard enough. It describes effort levels on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing an all-out level of intensity. It may seem like a lot of work but consider the innumerable benefits that your body stands to gain.

2.) HIIT is also defined by taking breaks to rest

With all this intensity talk, considering rest in HIIT may be far from your mind but it is an essential element of HIIT. Every work out set should include a set period. Without taking time to recover, you are not doing your HIIT properly. Why is recovery important?

ü  It gives your body an excellent cardio conditioning because then your body is forced to repeatedly acclimate between two very different states. The adaptation of the body from one state to another results in high caloric expenditure and more fat loss.

ü  Recovery is also essential to prep your body and enable it to perform at maximum level during high intensity spurts.

Tips for effective HIIT

  • Work really hard then rest. Work really hard again and rest.

  • Have a workout plan. You don’t need a fancy gym or equipment. Pick up an exercise that increases your heart rate and apply the HIIT format to it.

  • As a beginner, start with a 1:2 ratio of work to rest

  • A HIIT session is typically 20-45 minutes of working and resting

HIIT is great but it should not be the only thing you’re doing. Don’t schedule a HIIT session every day. Similarly, HIIT is not for everyone so consult your doctor before you begin. Finally, don’t use HIIT as an excuse to neglect your diet if weight loss is the goal you have in mind.

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