High-intensity interval training (HIIT training) has been a popular way to exercise for the past several years, mainly because it is effective and ultra-efficient.
When performed properly, HIIT improves stamina, builds strength, burns a lot of calories and helps stimulate fat loss and weight loss. Research shows that HIIT is particularly effective at post-exercise caloric expenditure, thereby boosting metabolism.
In its simplest form, HIIT is adding short bursts of high-intensity intervals to cardio or strength workouts, in which you raise your heart rate significantly, followed by brief recovery sessions. These bursts are repeated throughout 30-60 minute workouts for best results.
You can perform HIIT with machines at home or the gym, or you can simply use your body. And you shouldn’t perform HIIT if you are a beginning exerciser; first establish a base of cardiovascular endurance and strength before boosting the intensity.
HIIT Training Workouts
- Running/Biking/Swimming/Elliptical/Rower – Add 15-60 second sprints to your steady state pace every 2-4 minutes; then return to your pace for recovery.
- Cardio and strength – Whether you are on a treadmill, elliptical or bike, you can hop off every few minutes for intense weight training exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and more. In fact, on Octane machines, the handy CROSS CiRCUIT program makes HIIT training incredibly convenient and adds valuable variety.
- Weight Training – Although most HIIT routines use cardio, you can create a strength training HIIT session by lifting heavy weights for maximum effort, followed by a short recovery, and repeating for multiple sets and various exercises. Check online, in strength training magazines or with a trainer to develop a routine that works for you.
- Calisthenics – Alternate high intensity moves like jumping jacks, burpees, high knees, mountain climbers and more with slower-paced exercises like push-ups, crunches, bridges and Pilates or yoga moves.
- Take a class or try a DVD – Ask at your health club about HIIT class formats like Tabata, or check out the variety of DVDs available for home workouts. All you have to do is follow along.
Remember, HIIT training is designed to be intense, therefore, you shouldn’t do it everyday. Adding one to two HIIT workouts weekly to your regimen should be plenty to get you and keep you fit and feeling great!