What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is an intense cardio workout that can help you lose weight faster than you would with traditional steady state workouts. HIIT is a more intense form of training than traditional interval training, and it has a number of benefits; many fitness professionals consider HIIT to be the most efficient way to get in shape and burn fat on limited time resources. Here's what you should know about High Intensity Interval Training.

High Intensity Interval Training Technique

HIIT typically consists of a session of 15 to 30 minutes. First, you'll warm up with some moderate exercise. Then, you'll perform six to ten repetitions of High Intensity Interval Training.

To perform a repetition of HIIT, you'll exercise at an intense level--almost as hard as you can--for 30 seconds. You'll then perform sixty seconds of medium intensity exercise. For example, you might sprint as fast as you can for thirty seconds, then jog for 60 seconds, then sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for 60 seconds, until you've completed six to ten repetitions or a 15 to 20 minute workout.

When performing High Intensity Interval Training, you should really push yourself during the periods of intense activity. Exercise as hard as you can without hurting yourself. During your periods of moderate exercise, cut back the effort you expend by half.

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a great cardio workout that maximizes your body's ability to absorb and use oxygen during physical activity, so you'll enjoy greater athletic endurance. HIIT is also a great way to lose weight. Research shows that HIIT raises your resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours following a session. This means your body will continue to burn stored fat at a higher rate for hours after your workout is over.

HIIT is a great way to tone and strengthen muscles; research shows that just two hours of High Intensity Interval Training effects your muscles in the same way that ten hours of traditional aerobic endurance training. HIIT improves your endurance just as much as traditional aerobic training. It can also be a way to gain improvements in physical prowess and athletic skill for athletes who've become so fit that traditional training methods no longer offer any potential for improvement. 

Integrating HIIT into Your Workout

Due to the high levels of physical exertion involved, you should perform more than two or three sessions of HIIT each week. Don't do any other exercises on the day you do your HIIT session; let it stand alone as an independent workout. Give yourself at least 48 hours to recover from your session before you do another.

Make sure you warm up properly with 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging before you begin your HIIT repetitions. Your HIIT session should be at least 15 minutes in length, but no longer than 20 minutes. After your session, cool down with brisk walking.