High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is an exercise strategy that many people have been utilizing lately. The health effects of it are great, with many people finding it to be one of the best ways to lose weight and get in shape. According to musclemedia.com, “In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise- up to 50% more efficiently.” It has even been shown to speed up your metabolism, which is the factor that determines how fast you burn calories. But what exactly is HIIT training? Let’s find out!

What even is HIIT training?

HIIT training is high-intensity interval training where you alternate working out. For short periods of time you do intense anaerobic exercise and then you have a less-intense recovery period. Depending on how much time you have or just how long you want to workout for, these sessions can vary anywhere from 4 to 30 minutes. There are different types of HIIT training. For example, it can be applied to exercises such as running or squatting.

Who should be doing HIIT training?

Everyone! HIIT training is great for those who are just starting to workout and those who never miss a workout. Since you can workout for such a short amount of time and you get constant breaks it’s a great way to ease those people who never workout into working out.

When should I be doing it?

HIIT training isn’t something that you should be doing everyday. As with every time of exercise, you need to give yourself rest and allow your body time to recover. If possible, aim to do HIIT training 4-6 times a week.

Where can I do it?

Anywhere! Whether you have access to a gym or you can only do home workouts, that is totally fine. You can make it work. If you have a gym, utilize the equipment. Run on the treadmill, use the squat rack, or do some ab workouts with weights all for short bursts of intense exercise. If you can’t get to a gym that is totally fine. To get you started, these are some great HIIT exercises to do at home that don’t require any equipment:

  • mountain climbers
  • squats
  • pushups
  • crunches
  • butt kicks
  • high knees

Be sure to do short, intense bursts of one of these exercises followed by a break. Check out the “how” section to learn about the precise reps, sets and timing.

Why should I use this exercise strategy?

HIIT is one of the most effective ways to burn off fat and improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance. This exercise strategy is one of the fastest ways to see results. For example, take cardio, running on a treadmill. Research has shown that when you do a cardio session and just stay at the same pace the entire time your body goes into what’s called steady state. This means that your body has adjusted itself to the speed that you’re going at and is trying to conserve energy, or calories, which is what you’re trying to burn off. Not only will you be able to burn off more calories by doing HIIT training, but you will also burn off more fat.

How do I do it?

In order to do HIIT the only equipment you’ll need is a stopwatch, which all smartphones have.

Timing:

The intense part of your workout should be 20 seconds long. Work as hard as you can for those 20 seconds. No breaks, no slowing down. Give it all you can. Then the next 40 seconds is your break. You have time to catch your breath and prepare yourself for the next 20 seconds.

Reps:

A rep (repetition) is one complete motion of an exercise. That would be, for example, one complete push up. When doing HIIT training do as many reps as you can within the 20 seconds.

Sets:

A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. In HIIT training sets are equivalent to time. The amount of sets that you do will depend on how much time you decided to workout, whether that is for 4 minutes or 30 minutes.

*Disclaimer: while HIIT training is great, it shouldn’t be the only part of your workout. Yes of course some days you won’t have time for a full workout and just doing a HIIT workout is better than nothing! But when you have time, especially if you have access to a gym, incorporate a HIIT workout into the rest of your workout routine.

To learn more about High-Intensity Interval Training, click here.