What's HIIT?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a type of training that delivers quick, intense bursts of exercise, with short (and in many cases, active) rest periods.

Your heart races, and ultimately the goal is to burn more fat in less time by creating an oxygen shortage during the work phase of your workout, leaving your body craving oxygen during your recovery. This is known as EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption and lies at the centre of HIIT's success: as you'll be burning more fat and calories in this state than grinding it out on a treadmill, or nipping around the neighbourhood on the treadly (not that there's anything wrong with either of these).

The HIIT Variables - Debunking the Clutter

With a HIIT workout there are heaps of variables such as the intensity and length of each interval, the length of each rest period, the length of the overall workout and the frequency with which you should be working out. It can all be a bit confusing.

So how do you get the most out of each workout?

If one of the key benefits of a HIIT workout lies in the EPOC phase as discussed above it makes sense to first consider your intensity.

How Hard to Push

The hard part however about determining how hard to push is determining what your body needs to elicit that response, and in the absence of some rather intricate and elaborate exercise physiology testing apparatus perhaps the best way to gauge your intensity and therefore prescribe it is to think about talking. You ideally want to be working to a point where your breathing becomes laboured, and you can't bring in as much oxygen as your body needs. A great way to test this is you should always be able to say your name while working out, but not your phone number too.

The Duration

The work phase of your HIIT session ultimately determines how effective your HIIT workout and therefore your results will be. If your workout sum total adds up to five minutes worth of work phases, it won't be as effective as a workout that sums ten. Its really pretty simple. We'd recommend working towards a sum total of twenty minutes of work phases throughout a workout, but as always work to your level of ability, and always seek the advice of a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

The Results

One of the most recent studies found that people lost more fat by doing 4-6 x 30-second sprints, with a 4-minute rest period that 60 whole minutes of incline work on the treadmill! (Source: University of Western Ontario)

So not only are you achieving more in less time, you're also achieving it with a less sustained, but more focussed effort. You'll also notice that this has a psychological effect as most folk would be more interested in performing a more varied workout which stimulates motivation and adherence to the program.

Giving HIIT A Go

The key to a HIIT workout is variety, so don't be afraid to mix it up.

Here's one idea to get started though, and the best part is it will only take you 18-minutes to complete!

3 Rounds of Each Exercise Consecutively for 40 Seconds with a 20 Second Rest Between Each

  1. Squats (Plyometric as an advanced option)
  2. Push Ups
  3. Crunches
  4. Mountain Climbers
  5. Lunges
  6. Burpees

Let us know how you go!

We'd be really keen to hear what you think of HIIT as a training modality, please drop us a note here with any comments or questions you may have


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