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What is High Intensity Interval Training?
In many of the posts I talk about how it's important that any fitness routine should have some form of a HIIT workout. For those that have heard this term but aren't too familiar with what it means I'll break it down for you.
HIIT is a acronym that stands for high intensity interval training. A HIIT workout consists of short burns of high activity followed by a little longer burst of low activity or even a period of rest. During the periods of high activity you would give it your 100% effort which is why it's called "high intensity".
Since you are pushing yourself to your limits this interval of activity typically only lasts 30 seconds. Since you are working out so hard HIIT workouts don't typically last more than 30ish minutes.
Fitness Levels for HIIT
One thing that really great about HIIT workouts is that they can be custom tailored to any fitness level. The goal should be to push yourself to 90% of your personal max during the intense intervals and this level of effort will vary from individual to individual.
You can also turn any activity into a HIIT workout. Cardio workouts are usually the post popular to turn into HIIT. This includes running, swimming, and biking. You can even turn strength training into a HIIT workout. HIIt is flexible which makes it very popular among fitness classes.
The most common ratio of rest intervals to high activity intervals is 2:1. For example lets say you are running on a treadmill, you would sprint for 30 seconds and then rest or jog for 60 seconds. You can adjust this ratio to better fit your goals and fitness level.
HIIT workouts have many benefits and my favorite perk it that they are more effective at burning calories than steady paced cardio workouts. Here are a few other benefits of HIIT workouts:
- Burn more fat than other workouts
- higher "after-burn" effect than steady paced cardio; you'll continue to burn more calories even after your workout is complete.
- You will increase your endurance
- Help with positive health benefits such as improving cardiovascular activity, lower cholesterol
Since HIIT workouts are so intense it would be best practice to limit HIIT workouts to twice a week. This will give your body time to rest and recover.