HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a training technique that focuses on quick intense bursts of exercise, followed by short less active recovery periods. This type of training is designed to get your heart rate up and is proven to burn more fat in less time than a longer standard workout.

Losing weight

Due to the efficient fat burning results of the HIIT workout, this type of exercise regime has become very popular in recent years. The intensity of the workout allows busy people to cram an effective exercise regime, that is proven to help you lose weight, into a 30 minute time frame or less.

This is due to the fact that a high intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen and thus causes the body to demand more oxygen in recovery. This effect is sometimes referred as the ‘afterburn’ or Excess Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This is the process that helps burn more fat and calories in a reduced period of time, and will continue even when you have finished the workout.

Other benefits of a HIIT workout is that it is reported to boost your metabolism, meaning that you will still be burning calories after the workout is over. The workouts are also quick, convenient and cheap as they can be done anywhere and often do not require any equipment, with the workouts generally only using your own body weight.

However, this type of high intensity workout is not recommended for everyone as it is advised that complete beginners, or those with underlying health problems, should still begin with gentle exercise and build up gradually.

How to do a HIIT workout

Quick and relatively simple, a HIIT workout does not need to last more than 30 minutes and can be even less depending on the time that you have available. You should always complete a quick 5 minute warm up before attempting any high intensity workout to avoid injury. Interval training is also hard work and so you shouldn’t do this type of workout every day and leave time for recovery.

Start with achievable goals. For example, you might start with a simple sit to stand exercise. https://youtu.be/ViFGDZzSCHA Stand up and sit down as many times in 1 minute. You will be amazed how quickly your legs will ache and your heart will beat. 

A 10 minute HIIT workout for beginners could mean choosing up to 4 different high intensity aerobic exercises, such as a jumping jack, and completing each one as much as you can for 20 seconds. Break each exercise up with 10 seconds of rest in between before moving on. Once you are done, repeat the routine twice more.

Depending on your fitness level you can adapt the length and intensity level of your HIIT workout to suit you. Often gyms will offer HIIT exercise classes or circuit training which uses similar techniques of short bursts of high-intensity activity. This is a technique also often used by runners in order to push themselves and to build their speed, strength and stamina.

Always ask your physiotherapist before undertaking an HIIT programme.