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One HIIT WorkOwt!

Adding a few substantial high intensity interval training (HIIT) training sessions to your workout routine is an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular efficiency along with your stamina. There are numerous advantages to interval training, such as burning excess body fat, whilst spending less time in the gym.[1]

High intensity interval training, or ‘HIIT’, isn’t as complex as it sounds. The fundamental idea behind this form of training is to execute a series of workouts in which you alternate between intervals of high and low intensity. What exactly do these training intervals consist of? Preferably, you should execute some sort of exercise where you’ll be able to quickly raise the intensity of your workowt after slowing down. A good example might be to perform an all-out sprint, followed by a slow jog, and then repeating for an established amount of intervals. Clearly, walking is not a form of HIIT you can perform.

HIIT can be utilized to enhance nearly any form of aerobic exercise, from swimming to biking, or applied to aerobic machines such as the elliptical. The crucial thing in HIIT training is to establish a set amount of intervals. Intervals based on setting up workowts you replicate a set number of times.


The Framework of a HIIT Program

For HIIT, it is best to execute a high intensity exercise which will get the heart pumping between 75-85% of its greatest coronary pace, followed by intervals of low intensity exercise. You would continue these cycles for four to twelve intervals (ultimately determined by your level of physical fitness). You can estimate your max heart rate (MHR), by subtracting your age via 220.

How long these intervals should last is determinant upon your current health and fitness level. When you are starting off, consider performing ten second intervals of a few all-out exercises, followed by twenty seconds of recovery. This is often referred to as your work/rest ratio. You may adjust your ratio in any way you prefer, though the greater the ratio, the tougher your exercise is going to be. The secret sauce is in repeating this for an established number of intervals.

Let’s say you simply do not possess a means of checking your maximum heart rate. That is, you do not have a device strapped to your wrist informing you when you’ve reached your maximum heart rate. The good news is this shouldn’t be an actual hindrance. Even though it may be less specific, you are able to sense when you are performing at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To illustrate this point further, you can determine the ball-park of exercising at your maximum heart rate after performing a quick 5-second sprint.  After that, simply run at 80% of that all-out pace. With some minor adjustments, you can set the optimum interval time and intensity for yourself – gradually increasing your ratio as your performance improves.

In truth, scientific studies have shown you can greatly enhance aerobic exercise together with stamina in a few quick months simply by integrating high intensity interval training into your workowts.[1][3]

With HIIT it is very important that you warm up for 5-7 minutes and cool down for a minimum of 5 minutes. A good warm-up will get the blood flowing to your muscles, and will help to reduce the chance of injury. Following your interval training, cool down no less than five minutes, by reducing your intensity to slow jog or a brisk walk.  Even a light-weight workout following your HIIT may be beneficial. Whatever you do, it’s best not to stop all of a sudden, as doing so my lead to a pooling of the blood in your limbs – leading up to symptoms of vertigo and faintness.

Below, I’ve outlined a quick 4-week program to get you started with HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training is best performed on a track (if you choose to sprint) or an elliptical. Treadmills and Stairmasters are generally too restrictive for HIIT.

These exercises should be performed at least 3 days a week (4 preferred). Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

Weeks 1 & 2

Warm up: 5 Min

HIIT (High-Intensity): 1 Min

HIIT (Low-Intensity):  4 Min

Repeat: 3-4x

Cool down: 5 Min


Weeks 3 & 4

Warm up: 5-7 Min

HIIT (High-Intensity): 1.5 Min

HIIT (Low-Intensity):  4 Min

Repeat: 4-5x

Cool down: 5 Min


If you are not accustomed to training at such high intensity, you will be sore and tired the first week. However, stick to it! The real benefits will show up at the end of Week 2 after your body has begun to adjust. This is when it’s most crucial that you stick with the program.

I strongly believe if you can stick to the outlined program for the at least the first 2 weeks, you will begin to notice significant changes in your endurance and stamina. Your overall mood will be enhanced (due to an elevation in your body’s endorphins), and you will benefit from the added confidence that normally accompanies the feeling of accomplishment – knowing you are pushing yourself and moving one step closer to achieving your goal towards better health.

HIIT is not designed for those who suffering from cardiovascular issues or other health risks. Make sure you are cleared by your physician before trying any new exercise program. This additive is especially true in those with preexisting health conditions.

Leave your questions and comments in the section below.

[1] High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle.

[2] Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women.

[3] Manipulating high-intensity interval training: effects on VO2max, the lactate threshold and 3000 m running performance in moderately trained males.