HIIT workout (high-intensity interval training) is a fairly new and non-standard form of cardio training. The main purpose of such training is to exert maximum effort in the shortest possible time, combining periods of high workload and rest. The simplest example of such training can be the alternation of sprinting and walking.

Advantages of HIIT

Compared with traditional low-intensity cardio work, HIIT has several advantages.

high intensity interval training
High intensity interval training

The duration of HIIT is shorter, but this training is more energy-intensive per unit of time. If the usual low-intensity training lasts on average 30-60 minutes, then with HIIT you can keep within 15-20 minutes, and even a shorter period of time until you’re exhausted. This saves time. Plus, unlike monotonous classic cardio, HIIT is more diverse and interesting, so you will not get bored.

Burning calories

Burning calories in the post-exercise period is higher in HIIT than in classic cardio. Energy costs do not stop with the end of HIIT training, but for some time continues while the body must return oxygen debt, withdraw lactic acid, restore energy sources and come back to normal. The higher the intensity, the greater the metabolic response it will have. Not only does the post-training period increase with HIIT, calories are spent 6-15% more compared to traditional cardio. With HIIT in combination with strength training, you can achieve an impressive metabolic response and progress faster.

Improve aerobic and anaerobic indicators

hiit workout plan
HIIT workout

HIIT training significantly improves aerobic and anaerobic performance. Yes, yes, to increase muscle mass with these exercises is also real, while burning fat. It is also possible to improve your speed and strength. As an example, you can sprint for short distances, which, in fact, is an anaerobic kind of training, combined with periods of fast walking. This technique will better burn calories than traditional monotonous cardio training, but it will also load muscles well. Look at the sprinters – they are all muscular and lean.

The variety of training programs

An important advantage is the opportunity to create the training program yourself, change the order and pace of the exercises, and choose the right intensity for yourself. Do you prefer lunging and jumping more than running? No problem! Tired of an endlessly long walk on the path? Jump on the rope. And there are a lot of such examples. This and cycling, and swimming, and running, even while standing still, you can work with your own weight in the style of HIIT. And all this can be combined in any order! If the classes are diverse and interesting, then the mood from them improves, and this leads to an increase in the impact of the training itself.

Preparing for HIIT

So, we found out that there is a more effective way to fight fat deposits than classical cardio with a constant low intensity, now it needs to be realized in practice.

To start HIIT, you need some level of preparation. This type of training is demanding for the cardiovascular system of a person and it’s just so sharp to start taking cardio of high intensity that is fraught with health consequences. The HIIT should be prepared by a trained person who does not have cardiovascular disease and who has already mastered classic cardio workouts. A sufficient level of fitness suggests that the athlete can easily perform three low-intensity workouts lasting 60 minutes a week, without experiencing any negative moments.

hiit workouts
Shot of a fitness group having a workout session at the gym

It should be understood that HIIT is another kind of load, and here, as in any field, a well-thought-out sequence of actions is needed. To be drawn into high-intensity training should be gradual. You should start with a few minutes of warm-up, as with any other workout. Warm-up without much effort – fit warm-ups of joints, stretching, ten or two sit-ups in place, unhurried walking for three to five minutes, or doing the planned exercise in the main part of the workout, but with 50% intensity and in a comfortable heart rate zone.

HIIT Program for beginners

And then the program for beginners. At first alternate high intensity with low, in a proportion of 1: 2. That is 30 seconds of sprinting, and then 60 seconds of a quick step. After a while you will be able to adjust the balance of the intensity yourself. It is necessary for the pulse to return to normal during the decrease in intensity. The beginner will need only 4-5 intervals per cardio session.

What is one interval?

30 seconds of sprint + 60 seconds of fast walking will count for 1 interval. In the future, you can increase the number of intervals and vary the combination of periods of stress and rest. For example, the next step in the intensification may be the same 30 seconds of sprinting, but in combination with 15-20 seconds of a quick step. The number of intervals can also be increased, but it is worth remembering that HIIT is quite energy-intensive and you do not need to go too far, focus on a cardio session in 20 minutes, given the time for warm-up.

hiit workout plan

Exercise and regularity of training

Examples of exercises for HIIT numerous: this is the aforementioned sprinting in combination with fast walking, and cycling, for example, a sharp acceleration followed by a measured ride. The same applies to swimming – acceleration for 20-30 seconds, then unhurried strokes to restore breathing and pulse. Swimming works all the muscles of the body, and in combination with HIIT, a fat burning reactor is produced.

hiit workouts
Group HIIT workout

The number of HIIT workouts also depends on the level of fitness. You can start with 1-2 workouts a week and gradually increase their number. For most people, 3-4 workouts per week, every other day, is enough. Remember that these trainings are energy-intensive not only during the session itself, but also in the subsequent period of time, therefore it is recommended to engage in HIIT on a separate day from strength training.

It is important to note that the greatest effect in fat burning can be achieved only when the level of energy expenditure of the body exceeds the calorie content of incoming food.

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