High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to increase your cardio and strength training by adding intensity, variety, and increased calorie burn. So what exactly is HIIT training? It's a type of interval training where you alternate short, very high-intensity intervals with longer, slower recovery intervals.

The idea is to work in the higher percentages of your target heart rate zone, or around 9 out of 10 on the Perceived Exertion Scale, which means you push yourself to the max during your work breaks. This intensive exertion brings you to your anaerobic zone, a level so high that your body cannot breathe enough oxygen to generate the energy necessary for activity.

It's like being on Mars without a helmet, something you can only do for a short period of time. This type of exercise forces your body to be more efficient and use stored energy for fuel, making it a great way to improve your fitness level, build muscle, and burn fat.


This type of training has been used by athletes to improve performance, but it has also been shown to benefit the average practitioner. These are just some of the benefits of HIIT training:

Increase performance

HIIT improves performance. Put a little HIIT in your routine and you will notice a distinct difference from your other workouts, which means you will have more stamina and endurance.

Reduces fat loss and stimulates weight loss

HITT also helps you burn more fat. This is where the real benefits come in, especially if you want to lose weight. Studies have shown that HIIT training results in greater weight loss than stable low intensity training. It also allows more fat to be burned within the muscles that are being used, which is surprising as we have always found that spot reduction does not work.

Improves insulin sensitivity

Studies show that HIIT dramatically improves insulin sensitivity, which is an important component in the body's process to regulate blood sugar levels. People with insulin resistance (the opposite of insulin sensitivity) are more prone to serious health complications, such as diabetes.

Shorter Workouts

Your workouts are shorter. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and involves a 2: 1 ratio, which means that recovery intervals are twice as long as work intervals. An example would be 5 to 10 high intensity sprints (working at level 8 to 9 on the perceived exertion graph) lasting 30 to 60 seconds, interspersed with recovery intervals of 1 to 2 minutes (working at level 4 to 5).

Studies show that one of the most common reasons cited for not exercising is time, which is why HIIT may be a good option for many.

Creating a workout

Creating your own HIIT workout is simple. Basically, after a full warm-up, you choose a very high intensity exercise, like burpees, full run, or pedaling as fast as you can. Then do about 30 seconds of your total exercise, followed by a recovery exercise like running or diving for about a minute, repeating these intervals for about 20 minutes or more depending on your fitness level.

If you are a beginner, giving it your all is not recommended and you probably won't like it. But the great thing about HIIT is that you determine your intensity level; Start by trying a little (but not too hard). Then try adding intensity as your fitness level improves.

  • Additionally, you can try one or more of the following exercises, which will actually get you into your anaerobic zone for calorie-burning workouts.
  • High intensity sprint intervals: 30 minute workout adaptable to any type of cardio
  • 30-60-90 Mixed Interval Training - 39 minute workout suitable for any type of cardio

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Source: SELF

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