So, What Is HIIT Training?
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and involves short bursts of high intensity exercises paired with low intensity recovery periods. The recovery periods are essential to prep the body and allow it to perform its best during the next high intensity period. HIIT Training is specifically designed for burning fat, building strength, and enhancing endurance. An example of a HIIT circuit would be 30 seconds of burpees, 15 seconds of rest, 30 seconds of push ups, 15 seconds of rest, then repeat.
HIIT has been shown to produce the same results as a longer training session. HIIT spikes your heart rate so you’ll be burning more calories per minute than you would with a lower intensity workout. More calories are burned from fat during HIIT, and less muscle lost, plus fat continues to burn faster for 24-48 hours after your workout, hence why HIIT is a popular training method when trying to lose weight. To aid weight loss you can cut alongside HIIT training, to learn more read our post on the basics of cutting here.
When starting out, aim to complete two to three HIIT workouts a week to allow yourself time to recover between sessions. You can build up to the recovery ratio, so as a beginner you may want to start on 20 seconds of work, 40 seconds recovery and gradually reduce your recovery time whilst increasing your work time. During a HIIT workout you should be at about 70-85% of your maximum heart rate for the high intensity periods and at 70% or less during the recovery periods.
You can complete a HIIT workout with or without weights. The principles for HIIT weight training are that you should complete repetitions using a heavy weight that will lead to muscle failure at the end of the set, where you can no longer lift any more. You should attempt to increase the load at each workout, which is thought to improve muscle development.
Tabata is another method of HIIT that involves 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, usually performed in 8 repetitions. This could include mountain climbers, skipping, high knees, jumping jacks, or any body weight exercise. Tabata only takes four minutes total and does not require any equipment.
According to exercise guidelines released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, you can opt for the following or a mix of both: moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously intense cardio twenty minutes a day for three days a week.