First of all, what is it? HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is exercising for short, intense bursts followed by a less intense period of rest.
This is also known as Tabata training. This will get your heart rate up and then allow it to come down again, briefly. These intense bursts of exercise allow for greater fat burning than taking your sweet time on the treadmill for an hour.
After all, wouldn’t you rather do a quick warm up and a 10-15 minute work out? Many people spending 30-60 minutes on a treadmill or other cardio equipment may likely be burning muscle which is precious to increasing one’s metabolism and burning fat. Lean muscle is the goal here. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher the incinerator that is your metabolism will operate throughout the day.
For example, today I made up this workout although it only consisted of 4 exercises, I performed them 3 times through for a total of 12 rounds. If you have a Gymboss timer or interval timer app on your phone, you would set it for:
12 rounds of 10 seconds rest 50 seconds work
25 lb sandbag rows of reverse push ups on dip station
dip station straight leg abs
Although this doesn’t seem extraordinarily difficult, if you push yourself to the max during your “work” phase, you’ll be beggin for mercy for those 50 seconds to be up. I have been doing these style workouts for nearly the last year. My core has never been stronger than it is now.
Many days I do only bodyweight workouts or incorporate a few choice pieces of equipment. I have a sandbag, dip station, kettle bells, Ugi ball 10 and 12 lbs and a jump rope. There are modifications for anyone’s fitness level.
I used to train hard at the gym for an hour or hour and a half. During that time, had I consolidated my efforts to a more intense drill of exercises, I could have completed both my cardio and weight training all in one burst of 10-12 minutes. These and Crossfit workouts have become all I do over the last year besides run. I don’t have much time to go for the long runs I love, but I try to get in 3-4 miles once or twice a week. When I do run, my cardio has been kept in check by these workouts. What does that tell you?
Please note, you can arrange your intervals to fit your fitness level. If you are not in the best shape cardiovascularly, you can set your timer for 10 seconds rest, 20 or 30 seconds work.
And to the question I frequently get, yes, this really is all I do. That and eat as clean as possible for 80% of the time as well as taking the proper supplements to fill in any gaps. I indulge when I want but I’m typically not interested in things that don’t make me feel good. Sugary treats and greasy food is not my thang.
Train hard and get on with your day!