Cardio

HIIT It! Your Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

Short on time? Here’s how HIIT can have you dripping in sweat in 30 minutes or less.

By: Ilyse Rogozenski

The fitness world is full of buzzwords and acronyms. And if you’ve been paying attention, one such acronym keeps popping up everywhere—HIIT (high-intensity interval training). HIIT has become and continues to be, one of the most popular forms of exercise. And there are some pretty impressive reasons for that.

What is HIIT?

Remember when you found an exercise you really liked and just did it? If you loved running, you ran for miles. However, you’d have to run for a very long time to reap the same cardiovascular benefits that HIIT offers.

The problem with traditional workouts is that once your body becomes accustomed to that exercise, the workload is no longer difficult or challenging. Once HIIT entered the picture, all that changed.

Instead of drudging through a tedious, hour-long workout, HIIT gives you the opportunity to ramp up your workouts in half the time. How does it work? You’ll exercise at a higher intensity for short periods of time followed by an active rest period. Your heart rate is up, it’s down, it’s up, it’s down. And before you know it, you’re done!

The Benefits of HIIT

HIIT has many benefits, including:

  • Time efficiency
  • Burns more calories
  • Reduces fat
  • Preserves muscle

Why row for an hour when you can do intervals for 20 minutes? That’s the beauty of HIIT. You can minimize your workout time while getting the many benefits that steady-state cardiovascular exercise doesn’t always provide. And if your goal is to build muscle, HIIT doesn’t strip away your gains the way long bouts of cardio can. So, you’ll lose fat rather than muscle.

The Popularity of HIIT

Aside from HIIT shortening your workout time, its popularity is also based on the fact that you can do just about any exercise with it. It’s perfect for gym goers, those who work out at home or those who travel and don’t have access to equipment.

HIIT is also very flexible in terms of its design. The amount of time you want your intervals to be is up to you. And you can change it with every workout depending on your fitness goals. HIIT is a great training program for both beginner and advanced exercisers.

One of the more popular forms of HIIT is Tabata. The intervals here are specific. You give all-out effort for 20 seconds immediately followed by ten seconds of rest. Repeat this sequence for a total of eight rounds. Because Tabata is only four minutes long, you’ll want those 20 seconds of work to be maximum effort so be prepared to go out of your comfort zone. Afterward, your body should feel like it can’t do anything else.

The Bottom Line

HIIT workouts come in all forms using a wide variety of exercises. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this type of training. Program your HIIT workouts based on your fitness level and goals. If you need help coming up with a suitable workout, FitOn can provide you with some great exercises and routines including intense HIIT online workout classes taught by world-class trainers like Danielle Pascente, Bree Branker and Kenta Seki. These workouts are sure to leave you dripping in sweat in 30 minutes or less – and they’re also completely free!