If you've been going to the gym or doing your research you may have come across the term HIIT. "HIIT" is the acronym for "High Intensity Interval Training", but what does that actually mean? In this article we're going to try to explain to you what high intensity interval training is about and how you can incorporate it into your fitness routine.So what is it all about?
Typically when you go to the gym you'll be doing a workout for about an hour with some long rest periods in between the different exercises. This works, but takes a lot of time and doesn't require your maximum energy. As a result you'll generally have a lower heart rate throughout your workout, requiring less energy and burning less calories.
HIIT turns this traditional workout on it's head by focusing on intensity. It does this by making the exercise brief, typically between 20 and 30 minutes, and having very short breaks.
By doing the exercise for a shorter duration but maximum intensity it has a greater impact on your heart rate, allowing you to burn more calories in less time.How is a HIIT routine structured?
The question then is what a typical HIIT routine looks like. It's quite simple.
In general, you have two sections per "round" of a HIIT routine. These sections are your rest and exercise periods. A common setup for beginners is to do 30 seconds of exercise (at maximum intensity), and then rest for 30 seconds. You repeat this for a number of rounds, until it adds up to the amount of time you want to spend on it (20-30 minutes). What does resting mean?
It's always a bit tricky to explain what resting actually means - if you are doing exercise on a treadmill or indoor bike do you really want to get off it every 30 seconds?
As always it depends on preference, but both completely stopping your exercise or taking it easier are a good way of introducing rest into your routine.Can I do HIIT with any type of exercise?
Generally speaking, yes, you can do HIIT with any type of exercise. We recommend that you pick an exercise that you are familiar with and can perform with proper form, even with your body stressed to the max. Most people stick to cardio-specific exercise like running, cycling or being on a cross-trainer, but it's perfectly do-able to blend HIIT with weight lifting. To do this you'll typically pick a lighter weight than the maximum you can lift and focus on performing the maximum amount of reps within the allotted time.