In the past couple of years, you have seen a new term being used more and it is called HIIT exercise or HIIT workout. It has been around a long time, though it seems there is more talk of it.

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What is HIIT?

HIIT is all the hype lately. According to a survey conducted by The American College of Sports Medicine, it holds steady among the top fitness trends for 2017 (along with wearable tech and bodyweight training). So, what’s this type of training all about? What is it with HIIT?

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.

Mistakes to avoid in HIIT

One of the perks of HIIT workouts is that they are short. Adding more time won’t make them more efficient.

HIIT work varies from four to six minutes of “going all out” and then resting. Longer HIIT workouts, however, are one of the first mistakes with people trying out HIIT for the first time.

Long workouts […] they are not HIIT. You can’t do a HIIT workout for a very long time. Some of the HIIT workouts are 10 minutes, with rest involved, so the actual amount of work you are doing is different.

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Some workouts are promoted as HIIT when they aren’t. The way to determine if you are actually doing HIIT is if there are changes or intervals of intensity.

You should never skip your warm up no matter the exercise, but it is especially important to warm up for a HIIT session. The shorter the workout, the longer you have to warm up since you are taking your body from one extreme to another.

If you have a really long workout you don’t have to warm up as much as you start to warmup in the first five minutes.

So, warm-ups are very important, and what we mean by that is getting the body moving, getting a little sweat involved, before you hit something that is intense to prevent that heart [rate] spike right off the bat.

For HIIT to be effective, you have to implement both the high-intensity work and intervals. So, if you are simply adding breaks or rests into your typical workout without upping the intensity, you aren’t doing HIIT.

Once you start losing the intensity basically you are just working out and resting for 30 seconds which is not very intense, and now your workout starts to diminish.

For HIIT to be effective, you must implement both the high-intensity work and intervals. So, if you are simply adding breaks or rests into your typical workout without upping the intensity, you aren’t doing HIIT.

 

Once you start losing the intensity basically you are just working out and resting for 30 seconds which is not very intense, and now your workout starts to diminish.

On a scale of one to 10, one would be sleeping, and a 10 would be feeling like you couldn’t possibly do any more work. For HIIT, you should be in the eight to 10 range. If you stay in the lower levels, you aren’t really challenging your body or getting the most out of your workout.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who pedal to the metal at the beginning of the workout and don’t take the necessary breaks. Doing this, in turn, messes with their intensity for the rest of the workout.

The mistake is that people go hard, but they don’t recover, and then their effort [later on] isn’t where it was when they were fresh.

You should be resting for about equal to whatever work you did or less. As you get fitter you will need less time for recovery, just remember to maintain the same level of intensity and effort during every burst of movement to avoid burnout.

HIIT can be a great addition or substitute for your average workout, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. And doing HIIT too often is one of them.

The benefits of HIIT diminish when you overdo it since that could lead to injury or exhaustion. Although the workout is popular for being effective and a time saver, many new people jumping onto the trend make the mistake of doing HIIT too often — and not giving their body time to rest.

Like any new workout, take things slow and giving yourself time to acclimate to the real intensity of HIIT training.

Because I think if you are enjoying HIIT training, you’re not doing it right.

What does HIIT workout do?

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.

Sample of some HIIT workouts

Walk and Sprint

This one is as simple as the name implies. Usually most people do best with a 30 second walk, followed by a 30 second sprint. Repeat this about 8-10 times, and you should be feeling the burn. By the time you get to sprint number 3 or 4, you will very likely be feeling like death. Push through this period, and you’ll reap the benefits. As you progress, you can increase the number of rounds, or you can sprint and walk up a steep hill. This is a time tested, simple, but effective, workout. It works just as well whether you’re 15 years old, or 50. It works for high level athletes, as well as for everyday Joe’s. Try it!

Jog and Sprint

 

As you progress your fitness, you may be able to pull off this workout. This is just like our first workout, but here you will jog, instead of walk. If this sounds exhausting just reading it, perhaps it is best to start with the first workout. There is always room to progress! You could also shorten the number of rounds to 4-5, if you feel more comfortable starting there. Once you’ve mastered this workout, your aerobic and anaerobic capacities should both be fantastic.

Infinite Pushups

This one is about as fun as it sounds. You will be performing 10 pushups at a time. Rest for 30 seconds, and then do 10 more. To increase the difficulty, rest for 15 seconds instead of 30. If you’re feeling really loco, you can cut the rest time down to 10 seconds, though we wouldn’t recommend it, unless you really know what you’re doing. You can perform as many rounds as you like, though I’ve found that most clients feel challenged just doing 10 rounds. Your experience may vary. The advantages of this workout are that it’s easy, simple and is an excellent strength training workout that can be done anywhere. Especially good for traveling.

Infinite Squats

Everyone – and we do mean everyone – hates this one. However, if you’re brave enough to try it, you will find just how beneficial this workout can be. Air squats are not terrible on their own. But when you are doing infinite rounds, and only resting 30 seconds between rounds, it is not so ideal. Make sure you are able to squat first, and then check your form, either with a partner or in a mirror. Make sure you are going ‘below parallel’ (you can Google that term) and that your mechanics are exactly correct. Squats are very commonly performed incorrectly, and you don’t want to be doing them wrong. The setup is similar to our previous exercises here – 10 repetitions, wait 30 seconds, repeat ad nauseam. Women – pay close attention to this workout. It is possibly the single best thing you can do, to get a better butt.

Push and Squat

10 pushups followed by 10 air squats. Rest 30 seconds, and then repeat again. For extra difficulty, perform one pushup, followed by one squat, until you get to 10 of each. It sounds easy, but we promise you’ll be hating it in the middle of it! If you are on the road and need a total body workout, this is one of your best choices. Exercising when jet lagged can have benefits, in order to help you get acquainted to the current time zone. We like to do this one when we’ve been cooped up in a car all day, maybe followed by some sprints. Gets all your frustration out, costs you nothing, and works most of your body.

Sit Up and Jump

This one will be familiar to athletes. You will perform 10 sit ups, stand up, and perform 10 vertical leaps. Try and reach as high as you can each time, as well as to go all the way down, each time you prepare your jump. Think of yourself as one big spring, and you want to get everything out of each repetition. You will then rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To make this one harder, add in a round of 10 pushups, after your vertical leaps.

Infinite Burpees

 

We are sorry in advance. No one likes burpees. If you recall squat thrusts from gym class, you already know what a burpee is.

Doesn’t that look like tons of fun?! 10 burpees, followed by 30-60 seconds of rest, and then repeat. Stop when you think you may throw up. We wish there was a way to make this easier for you, but unfortunately, burpees never get easier – no matter how long you’ve been doing them. As far as increasing the difficulty – trust us, you won’t want to make this routine any harder than it already is. Are they good for you? The best!

HIIT workouts are very good for traveling, or when time-pressed. You can easily create your own, of course, as well. Exercising doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. Just get creative and mix things up. Chances are, you’ll find an infinite number of solutions to getting in shape. Don’t let the old gym traditions and stale routines hold you back, and HIIT workouts will get you in excellent shape!

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