High-intensity interval training is making noise in the fitness world. For once, this is a trend worth listening to.
HIIT is a staple in my philosophy and programming as a personal trainer because it is the most efficient and effective way to torch calories. As a result, it melts fat off of your body, especially in the areas where we tend to gain weight, such as the midline, thighs and glutes.
Pushing your body to its limits also challenges your mind. The determination that HIIT requires commands you to get tough and empowers you to dissolve limiting beliefs about what you are capable of.
What are you ready to burn up this spring? Build heat through HIIT to transform physically and mentally.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is an all-out workout that cycles maximum effort and low intensity or rest for a designated number of rounds or minutes. This could look like 15 seconds of work followed by 45 seconds of rest for 10 minutes.
HIIT incorporates exercises such as sprints, plyometrics, and the movement of multiple body parts to produce a potent cocktail of sweat and sometimes tears.
Why is HIIT transformational?
1. The short bursts of intense effort improve cardiovascular capacity and condition as well as metabolism.
Pushing the body to its limits for short periods compels it to use its glucose stores. Glucose is the body’s most accessible form of energy. Unused glucose eventually turns into stored energy, which becomes fat.
Intense exercises trick the mind and body into thinking that they are in danger. The body calls on glucose for the energy to exert more effort. The effect is a surge in metabolism, which results in weight loss.
2. Higher productivity enables you to decrease your workout time. Do you spend too much time in the gym? Do you not have enough time to get to the gym? HIIT requires no more than 15 minutes, so it eliminates both of these excuses.
3. In addition to spending less time working out, you continue to burn fat afterward. Your body has to repay all of the oxygen and energy that it borrowed to exert maximum effort during HIIT. This is why you pant afterward. Repayment of your oxygen debt, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, can take hours to complete. This means that you continue to experience increased metabolism after working out.
When to do HIIT?
You can do HIIT as a stand-alone workout or at the end of a full workout.
I never do HIIT before lifting weights. The effort that it requires depletes my ability to do other activities. I lift weights first so that I can build muscle and strength. Then, I dedicate my remaining energy to HIIT to finish my workout.
How to do HIIT?
As the name suggests, the two key components are high intensity and interval. Doing one without the other will not burn fat as effectively. You must give 100-percent effort for a short period. Then, you must rest. Resting enables you to perform the next round with maximum intensity.
Here are three examples of HIIT programs:
1. 40-yard sprints:
Warm up to prevent injury.
Sprint as fast as you can for 40 yards.
Walk back to your starting point. Rest for up to a minute.
Repeat up to 10 times. Beginners, do no more than three to five rounds of sprints to start. If you have never sprinted before, your body may not be able to handle the stress. Advanced exercisers, do no more than 10 rounds. That is more than enough. You will not walk comfortably for a few days.
2. Elliptical machine sprints:
Find an elliptical machine at the gym with moving arm levers so that you can exercise multiple body parts to burn more calories.
Increase the incline of the ramp. But place the overall resistance of the machine at the lowest setting.
Sprint at your maximum speed for 15 seconds.
Then, slow to a medium pace for 45 seconds to catch your breath.
Repeat for up to 15 minutes. Beginners, five minutes usually suffices. If your heart rate exceeds 190 beats per minute, stop or reduce your speed.
Pick any plyometric movement – an action that demands explosive power – such as box jumps or burpees.
Perform the movement with maximum effort for 20 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat for up to 15 minutes. Beginners, start at five minutes, and work your way up over time. Feel free to select a different movement after several rounds to make it more fun.
The workouts that I design for clients and use for myself blend a warmup, weight training and HIIT on the same area of the body to make them safe and productive. Try this sample lower-body workout that culminates with HIIT:
1. Warmup: Stretch your legs, glutes and core dynamically via:
2. Weight training:
Do five sets of squats at 225 pounds for five repetitions.
Do three sets of walking lunges with 50-pound dumbbells for 20 reps.
Do three sets of wall-ball shots at 25 pounds for 20 reps.
Do box jumps for 15 reps.
Jump rope for 100 reps.
Repeat for 10 minutes.
Eat a full meal containing protein and carbohydrates within 90 minutes of completing the workout.
Who can do HIIT?
The energy that HIIT requires does not make it for the faint of heart.
If you are ready to experiment with this type of training, tread lightly. Discomfort is good, but pain is not. Know the difference. Choose shorter durations until you are aware of the effects of this type of training on your body.
Where to do HIIT?
Although working out on your own and attending group classes are great ways to experiment with HIIT, my professional opinion is to work with a personal trainer who specializes in this type of work. A trainer can design safe and effective workouts for your body and motivate you to complete them to obtain the results that you desire. The value that you receive will far exceed the dollars that you will invest.
Are you interested in minimizing your time at the gym yet maximizing your results? I’m currently offering 30% off for new clients who enroll in my wellness programs that incorporate HIIT. Contact me today for a free 30-minute phone call to talk about your goals and how I can help
Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.