Some of you may or may not know, H.I.I.T. stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. H.I.I.T. is a form of interval training that alternates between short bursts of intense activity, followed by a recovery period of low intensity activity or even rest. 

No matter what your fitness goal, whether it’s to gain muscle, improve athletic performance or lose weight, H.I.I.T. can help you get there. For someone like myself who isn’t a fan of cardio, never mind steady-state cardio (yawn), a quick 30-minute H.I.I.T. session two to three times a week is the perfect solution.

What are Some H.I.I.T. Variations? 

Well, there’s really no set standard, as long as you keep to a span of all-out work periods,followed by active recover/rest period (while usually thinking you want more rest). For example, you might follow any of these work-rest ratios:

  • 60 second work/60 second rest
  • 30-30
  • 20-10

Each ratio, let’s say you choose 30 work/30 rest, is then repeated for as many rounds as is needed to get you to your total H.I.I.T. time. For instance, if your planned cardio session for the day was 30 minutes (not including warm up or cool down time), you would repeat this example 30 times. You get the gist, I’m sure.

Another thing that I love about H.I.I.T. is that you can jump on almost any piece of cardio equipment, that most people use for steady state cardio, and pound out a heart-pumping H.I.I.T. workout. You can even use different pieces of equipment at different times throughout your workout. For example, you might use a treadmill for the first 15 minutes and then use a skipping rope for the last 15 minutes. So many alternatives and so many combinations from which to choose! We love it.

Ready to give H.I.I.T. a try? 

Here are a few 30-minute H.I.I.T. workouts to consider. But, as with all workouts, make sure you do a proper warm up before you start your H.I.I.T.. These workouts include warm ups. Remember: although these workouts note speed or inclines levels, you’ll need to adjust the intensity to suit your fitness level.

Workout #1

Total time: 30 minutes Perform 8 rounds of the following:
Equipment: stepmill 1 minute at Level 8
Warm up: 3 minutes at Level 4-6 1 minute at Level 10
Cool down: 3 minutes at Level 3-5 1 minute at Level 12

Workout #2

Total time: 30 minutes 2 minutes, 3 mph
Equipment: treadmill (incline 0) 2 minutes, 5.5 mph
Cool down:  2 minutes slow walk 1 minute, 8 mph
2 minutes, 5 mph
1 minute, 8.5 mph
2 minutes, 5 mph
1 minute, 9 mph
1 minute, 4 mph
1 minute, 10 mph
1 minute, 3.5 mph
1 minute, 9 mph
1 minute, 3.5 mph
1 minute, 10 mph
1 minute, 3 mph
Perform 5 rounds of:
30 seconds 10 mph
90 seconds 3 mph
COOL DOWN (above)

Workout #3: Tabata H.I.I.T. (perfect to start the day or if you are short on time)

Total time: 18 minutes 3 warm up/12 work/3 cool down 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest (hold treadmill side bars and hop feet off of track). Each round is 30 seconds total
Equipment: treadmill 8 rounds, Level 8 (total 4 minutes)
Warm up: 3 minutes:  1 min: Level 3, incline 0 1 min: Level 3, incline 5-6 1 min: Level 5, incline 1-2 8 rounds, Level 9 (total 4 minutes)
8 rounds, Level 10 (total 4 minutes)
Cool down: 3 minutes at Level 3-5, incline 0 Tip: Set treadmill at Level indicated. Hold treadmill side bars and place one foot on each side of the track. While still hold side bars, carefully lift yourself up slightly and start running with the track. When up to speed, take hands off side bars.

A few more tips to consider if you decide to add H.I.I.T. workouts to your fitness regiment: 

  • Keep your leg days separate from your H.I.I.T. days. Trust me when I say that they don’t mix well.
  • Try leaving a few hours between your H.I.I.T. and your strength training.
  • If you must do both strength and H.I.I.T. in one shot, do strength first (so you can lift at your strongest), followed by H.I.I.T..

But How Often Should I Do H.I.I.T.

Well, that depends on your goals. Here’s some guidance:

  1. Muscle gain (yay, weights!): stick to no more than three H.I.I.T. workouts per week and max the mat 30 minutes each. 
  2. Endurance: 3-4 H.I.I.T.workouts per week, maxed at 30 minutes each, with an added 15 minutes per workout of steady-state cardio.
  3. Fat-loss: 2 H.I.I.T. workouts per week, maxed at 30 minutes each, plus 2 interval 45-minute interval workouts (think combinations of jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squats, butt kicks, crunches,high knees, etc.)

What Kind of Results Can I Expect

Everyone is different, so results will be different. But, there is more than enough science to show that H.I.I.T. is definitely effective. And although you may not need reminding, nutrition will play a huge role in the results you achieve. So let’s be clear, just because you add some H.I.I.T. into your fitness plan, doesn’t mean you can balance the extra activity with more junk food.

Ok, now get out there and give one of the workouts above a try. Let us know what you think.

By: Nicole Paradis and Lara Reynolds – 2GFitness

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