What is HIIT and How Do I Incorporate It?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has recently made resurgence in the fitness world. You might be wondering what exactly HIIT is and how it can benefit you. HIIT requires an individual to perform at their highest intensity for a duration of time, followed by a timed rest. This process repeats several times. We keep the burst of energy short to ensure that we are always performing at maximum effort close to VO2 Max, the maximum oxygen our body consumes during exercise.

Exercising at this intensity burns calories not only during exercise, but your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate after exercise compared to traditional steady state cardio. Over time individuals will increase their metabolic rate, making their body more efficient at burning calories.

Studies have found that HIIT provides benefits to both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The muscle is impacted at a cellular level and provides the same benefits seen in traditional cardio, in less time. The reduced time makes HIIT a valuable method for many that don’t want to spend 30 minutes or more on a treadmill or stair master.

Now that we have gone over what HIIT does to your body, let’s go over how you can do it. One of my favorite methods is Tabata training. Tabata training is an all-out 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeating this cycle 8 times. The total time for this workout is 4 minutes. Although this is short, I guarantee it will be extremely tiring. This workout is a very stressful, so I recommend only performing it 2 to 4 times a week, depending on your fitness level and your body’s ability to recover.

Tabata is not the only HIIT method. If you want to work up to performing at that kind of intensity, try having a short bout of max effort followed by a longer period of rest to adjust yourself to the intensity. For example, as an introduction to HIIT, I like 1 minute of high-intensity exercise and 3 minutes of low-intensity exercise, such as walking. This allows your heart rate and rate of breath to come back down, and allows you to truly perform that 1 minute at maximum effort. There are many ways to use HIIT, just remember you want the exercise, or work, portion to be short, allowing yourself to reach maximum effort. This should be no longer than a minute. You also want both the rest time and the work time to be the same throughout the duration of the exercise.

Contact FAST to find a HIIT program that best fits your fitness level. You will quickly notice the difference in your body when you frequently perform exercise at a high-intensity.

Shane Anderson

FAST Facility Manager | North Central Phoenix

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).