What is HIIT? Would It Be Good for Me?

what-is-hiitEvery week there is a new buzzword in the fitness community. A new workout that will revolutionize what you're doing and your results. Nowadays it seems like the big talk around gyms is HIIT. Well, what is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.

Before you think you got it, there are a few things you should know before starting a HIIT workout.

What is HIIT? The Basics.

To start off with, HIIT workouts are short. Typically a HIIT workout will be around 20-25 minutes long, and that includes your warm-up and cool down phase.

Why are they so short?

The idea behind HIIT is that your high-intensity interval is your maximum intensity. That means you are pushing yourself as hard and fast as your body will go. If you are doing this right, your workouts are going to be short because you will be tired!

Is HIIT Different than Interval Training?

People confuse these two types of training all the time. That is partially because gyms advertise HIIT classes that are just interval training classes. Let's post two workout examples, so you can do a side by side comparison and check out the difference for yourself.

  • 5-min warm up
  • 30-second sprint
  • 30-second walk
  • Repeat 2-3 four times
  • 5-min cool-down
  • 5-min warm up
  • 1-min jog
  • 4-min walk
  • Repeat 2-3 four times
  • 5-min cool-down

While both workouts incorporate the same principles of a high burst of speed, the HIIT burst is much shorter and much faster. The reason the HIIT burst is so short is that you are giving it your all and emptying your tank.

Only Running?

A lot of people wonder what is HIIT and why is it only running? Well, I have got some good news for you.

The HIIT format for a workout that I gave above can be applied to any exercise for amazing results. HIIT is more effective than traditional exercises because you activate both your aerobic and your anaerobic systems during the same workout.

Aren't Those Tabatas?

what-is-hiit-tabataWait a minute, I thought Tabata and HIIT were two different things?

HIIT workouts that include rest periods are sometimes referred to as a Tabata. This is because the Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata came up with the training protocol to help increase the VO2 max of olympic athletes.

This protocol helped develop lung capacity in well-developed athletes.

Trainers all over the world have taken the 30-second burst/30-second rest protocol, and designed workouts to blast fat and target muscle groups all over the body. Tabata's protocol not only helps build lung capacity, but it also helps your body burn up to twice the calories of a regular workout.

Is HIIT For Everyone?

That answer can be tricky. HIIT can be for everyone if you cut the repetitions down. Those who are very deconditioned will find themselves hard pressed to complete a workout going eight repetitions at full blast.

But fewer repetitions may be a perfect starting place.

If you are just starting out with an exercise program, you may find that Interval training is a more appropriate place for you to start. The benefits of increased calorie burn and fat burn are still there, but it is much less demanding on the body.

One of the keys to maintaining a new exercise program is not burning out when you get started.


Here's the highlights of what you've learned from this article:

  • HIIT contains short bursts of maximum effort
  • Can be done with any exercise
  • Not the same as interval training
  • Activates aerobic and anaerobic energy systemswhat-is-hiit-done

Remember: like any new activity, take it slow at first.

HIIT is going to leave your sorer in a shorter amount of time than any other workout you have done.

It causes high volumes of lactic acid to build up, so be prepared for some muscle soreness the next day.

Try out a HIIT workout and tell us what you think!


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