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HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

The Warm Up

 

Cardiovascular training at its most intense


High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to get it all in! It is intense, it is it fun, it is fast, it is effective, and it is good for your heart!


HIIT Training Intervals: Leaving it all on the mat!

It is hard, you will breathe heavily, you will sweat and you will want to quit. So, why should you even bother? To answer this question I will need to take you back about 17 years ago after my youngest son was 6 months old and I started my fitness journey. I was 24 years old with 2 toddlers and a baby. I ate junk food and smoked. I wasn't overweight but I sure was unhealthy and bigger than I had ever been. I started running and working out to Jillian Michaels videos (if you don't know all of her workouts are HIIT themed). Within a month I noticed a change in the way my clothes fit, and energy levels but I was still eating junk food and smoking. At six months my mindset changed from wanting to look good to wanting to be healthy. And while running and working out was hard, in fact, it still is, it changed me. I was a stronger person mentally and physically.


It is hard, you will breathe heavily, you will sweat and you will want to quit. And THAT is why you should do it!


Everything you need to know about high intensity interval training.


There are many aspects of a good training program.There are many ways to incorporate HIIT into your current training program. There are many benefits to adding HIIT to your training. But there are also things that are going to be difficult or confusing and that you will get wrong. The goal is to try to avoid beating yourself up over a bad day or session to become stronger.


The Workout

 

#1: What Is HIIT?


HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. Sounds daunting, and it is, but that is why it works. HIIT is a training technique in which you give 100% effort for short amounts of time for the duration of the workout, through quick and intense exercise movements with short recovery periods in between your heart rate increases. These bursts of heart rate is what causes intense calorie burn and improved cardio vascular health.


#2: Why HIIT?


Calorie burn, fat loss, and muscle gain are three fitness reasons to use the HIIT method but not the only reasons. HIIT is full of benefits, such as, longer calorie burn after the workout, a reduced resting heart rate, and lower blood pressure and blood sugar.


The longer you incorporate HIIT into your training the easier HIIT is to perform. Science says your muscles need oxygen during exercise and to recover after exercise. The more efficiently your body does this the higher your V02 max is (how efficiently your body sends oxygen to the muscle repeatedly). The more efficient this system becomes the less huff and puff you are doing while working out.


The longer you incorporate HIIT into your training the more improved your health becomes. EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is more commonly known as the afterburn and means that you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate for long after your workout is completed. However, there is a catch, you must give 100% during the short bursts. You need to reach at least 80% of your maximum heart rate for a total of 12 minutes in a 45 minute workout. To find your maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220 then calculate 80% of that and get yourself a heart rate monitor.


#3: Misconceptions


  • It is too hard for me, I need to start with something easier. Exercise is mind over matter, your body is amazing, you can do hard things, you just have to be open minded and positive in your perspective. Take one workout at a time, one exercise at a time, one step at a time and then repeat.

  • I'm too old, I will hurt myself. Age is just a number when it comes to exercise. I cannot stress this enough- proper nutrition, hydration, and warm up exercises will be the key here. As I said above, the more you HIIT the easier it will become so your first class might not be that intense but it is a starting point. You have to keep trying a little harder each time to be able to do more intense exercises next time. All moves have modifications so it is absolutely fine in the beginning to start easy.

  • I have been doing HIIT workouts and nothing is changing, I quit. Change takes a long time, and starts from the inside out. You are making changes to your health, but it will take time to physically see the changes. You will build muscle faster than you will burn fat, so for a brief time you will add muscle on top of the fat you already have, however, eventually that will begin to melt off and that is when you start to see the changes.

  • This is too easy for me, I won't see change. The thing about HIIT is it is as intense as you make it. it is mostly bodyweight exercises and plyometrics. If it is too easy you are not pushing yourself to at least 80% of your max heart rate. Sometimes it helps to workout with a friend or a partner so you can have a friendly competition.

 

The Finisher


HIIT can be added to your current strength program by performing the exercises at either the beginning or end of your workout. If you are looking to burn calories you will add it to the end, if you are looking to build muscular endurance you will add it to beginning.

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