HIIT Your Way To Top Fitness

Top FitnessIt is January and you need to shape up. You know it. Everyone is doing it. But you really don’t have a fitness regime you love, so you come up with excuse after excuse. Today is the day to change all that.

High Intensity Interval Training works. It works for athletes and it works for newbies. (As always, make sure you get a green light from your doctor if you have not been working out for awhile.) It is a very effective way to lose weight and shape up, and best of all, it works fast.

Intense Intervals

HIIT is a type of cardio training that builds on the benefits of interval training. The idea is to alternate periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with periods of less intense recovery. These short intense workout sessions can range from 4-30 minutes. They are designed to increase fat burning, increase calorie burning, increase conditioning and increase glucose metabolism.

Anaerobic Intervals

HIIT uses aerobic exercises like running, cycling and rowing. However, these exercises become anaerobic when they are performed at higher than 90% of maximum heart rate. You don’t have to get stuck in a rut with running, cycling and rowing, either. A recent study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research concluded that people who did calisthenics achieved similar results to those who did cycling intervals. This is especially important since it is well-known that keeping your fitness routine varied and interesting will keep you at it long enough to build fitness into a habit.

How to Start

Start out slowly by adding some intervals into your exercise routine gradually. It is intense and you don’t want to burn out. So just start by adding 2 or 3 intervals in at first and gradually working up to more. You can add more intervals, longer intervals and ultimately a longer exercise session overall. By starting slowly you are much more likely to stick with it.

HIIT Sample from Study

The study published the routine used by its subjects three times a week, so you can try it too. Ride a stationary bike for 5 minutes to warm up. Do 10 squats. Do 10 pushups. Do 5 burpees. Then do as many burpees as you can in 30 seconds (intense period). Step in place for 4 minutes (less intense recovery period). Repeat 4 to 7 times.  Have you forgotten what a burpee is? They are that fun way to move from standing to plank position and back to standing. Now you remember!

HIIT Sample from Canada

Professor Martin Gibala’s 2009 study on students at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON used a method sometimes dubbed The Little Method: 3 minute warm-up on a stationary bike. 60 seconds of intense exercise. 75 seconds of rest. Repeat 8-12 times. Students used this routine three times a week but achieved results similar to those training at a steady pace five times a week.

Martin Gibala

Who Benefits?

Everyone looking to achieve great results fast can benefit from adding some high intensity. Those just starting out can add intervals to get fit. Those bored with their current routine can give it a shot in the arm with some added intensity. And serious athletes can get past a plateau using these techniques. In short, there are benefits to be gained by all.


HIIT burns calories and fat faster than a steady pace of training. You do not need any special equipment for these workouts and you can do them anywhere. There are both aerobic and metabolic benefits. And not only does it work for you while you are working out, but it also raises your resting metabolic rate for 24 hours after you work out. Those of you who like multitasking will love this workout technique!