High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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Good morning!

Wow did I have a horrible sleep last night! My body did not want to go to sleep an extra hour early and I tossed and turned all night. My alarm was set for 6, but I didn’t get out of bed until 7:30…so I feel like I am running behind yet again today! The good news is today is a rest day for exercise, so I sort of have an ‘extra’ hour in my day today. ;)

I finally got around to trying out HIIT yesterday after many of you raved about it and told me I should try it out.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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[Note: Picture is from last summer]

What is HIIT?

  • It is exercise that involves intense bursts of exercise (e.g., sprinting) followed by moderate intensity exercise (e.g., jogging) repeated in an interval format.

How To Do HIIT:

  • “A HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by six to ten repetitions of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. The goal is to do at least six cycles and go for about 15-20 minutes.” [Source]

Potential Benefits of HIIT:

  • A great way to maximize a workout that is limited on time!
  • Increase Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) for the following 24 hours post-exercise
  • Might improve VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption) more effectively as compared to traditional long aerobic workouts. [Source 1 & 2]

A few different types of HIIT:

For all of you HIIT pros, feel free to add your own info in the comments. I just did a quick read up on it and have a lot more to learn about it!

Yesterday I decided to try the 60-second HIIT advanced level workout. I typically train at an intense level during my normal workouts, so I thought I would be able to handle the 60-60 second split.

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My HIIT Workout:

For my intense 60 second interval, I chose 8 mph, even though I probably could have done 9 mph. I decided to play it safe and see how it went. I can always build up over time.

Warm-up: 10 minute walking at incline 2%

HIIT:

  • 6 mph (10 min/mile) for 60 seconds, at incline 2%
  • 8 mph (7:30 min/mile) for 60 seconds, at incline 2%
  • Repeat, repeat, etc.
  • Number of sets: 14
  • Total time of HIIT: 28 mins.

Cool down: 5 mins. walking

My thoughts:

  • This HIIT workout made my tempo runs look like a walk in the park!!! It was crazy intense and I loved it.
  • I love that you can tailor HIIT for your own needs. I think it could be applied to a variety of exercises like cycling, swimming, or gym equipment like the Stairmaster.
  • I stopped for two quick water breaks around 8 minutes and 20 minutes. You will need water in a crazy way during this workout.
  • I zoned out and forgot about everything else.
  • I sweat a TON, much more in 28 minutes than I do for some runs that are an hour or more! Make sure to drink lots of water and have a post-workout snack within about 30-60 minutes of the HIIT.

Overall verdict:

I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this!!! I have done intervals before, but nothing as effective as this. I was blown away by how tough this was and by how amazing I felt afterwards. Total runner’s high. I will definitely be experimenting with HIIT on a  weekly basis.

Thank you to those of you who suggested I try HIIT out! I will be forever grateful. :mrgreen:

Do you ever include intervals in your training? Have you ever tried HIIT, if so, what did you think?

Updates:

  • Today is the last day to get in your Glo Bar orders if you want it shipped out before I leave for vacation this weekend! Otherwise, I will not be shipping out orders again until the second week in April.
  • Need motivation to drink more water? Check out Project Hydrate.
  • March 15th-20th is Health Tip Week on OSG! Stay tuned all week for the most valuable tips, tricks, and lessons that I have learned along my road to health! :)

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Stay tuned…

Angela Signature thumb15   High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. ~Alan Kay

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Lowry March 15, 2010

Angela,

I am pleased to see that you have discovered the joys of HIIT. In Turbulence Training (second time I mentioned that) HIIT is used for the endurance portion. Craig Ballantyne wrote about the rest period in his blog post today; http://turbulencetraining.blogspot.com/2010/03/big-interval-training-mistake.html

Your HIIT was intense and long. One thing I love about HIIT is that you can use many methods to do it – running, biking, rowing, bodyweight or kettlebell reps etc. I am currently doing intervals that involve a few hundred bodyweight reps broken up into sets – hard, intense and quick to do.

I am enjoying reading your blog.

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Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind March 15, 2010

Just joined the Project Hydrate challenge – such a good idea!

Love HIIT! I usually do my own versions of it (like sprinting through the chorus of songs). I already did a fair amount of interval training, but after I got my heart rate monitor and saw the difference intervals make in a workout, I became a die-hard fan!

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Carbzilla March 15, 2010

Great post! I had to look up HIIT a while ago when it kept popping up, but I haven’t tried it on my elliptical yet. I’m all about sweating and a shorter workout. Great explanation and links!

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Paige @ Running Around Normal March 15, 2010

I love HIIT workouts! I haven’t doone many lately, just because my half marathon training plan doesn’t call for them, and there’s little room to get in “optional” cardio training.
I usually do 30 seconds on 60 off or 20 seconds on, 40 off.

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Cynthia (It All Changes) March 15, 2010

I love intervals and do them on the treadmill and elliptical.

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Angela @ A healthy fit March 15, 2010

I love doing high intensity intervals when I am stuck on the treadmill. It makes the time fly and I sweat like a crazy beast.

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Kelly March 15, 2010

I was first introduced to HIIT when I was short on time but wanted an effective cardio workout. I read an article on SparkPeople about it and it offered a chart. I modified it to use on my recumbent bike. I now do HIIT once or twice a week. I will no longer sit on the bike for 45 minutes to an hour. When I workout I want it to be intense and effective.

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Alison @ finnyfinds March 15, 2010

Hi Angela! Nice workout and I’m glad you shared it with us. The first time I did a workout like that was recently and I posted about it here: http://finnyfinds.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/never-shall-i-belittle-the-treadmill-again/ (sorry to be a troll and leave my blog address in the comment – it’s just easier than recapping the whole thing). It gave me a lot of respect for treadmill workouts and a welcome break from the gray Rochester weather.

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Cherry March 15, 2010

We did a lot of HIIT/Interval Training/Circuit Training when I was in the military. I follow another exercise blog that you may (or may not) love (www.bodyrock.tv). The blogger does a lot of variations on HIIT and Tabata. I think it will give you more ideas for the way those two types of intense training can be incorporated into daily workouts. This is my first time commenting on yours or any blog! I love your blog and have been following it for almost a year now. You have such a “glow” about you and I appreciate all your great life/food recipes! Thanks for sharing pieces of your life!

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Little Aspects March 15, 2010

I love interval training – it really worked wonders for bringing my running times down. If you want to do intervals to help with longer running races (eg 10k) then 800m intervals are great. Run the 800m at your goal race pace for 5k (for arguments sake, 4min would be a 5min/km pace) then rest for half the amount of time you run the 800m in (eg2mins) then go again. Repeat 5 times (so 5x800m). The idea is to try to run the exact same pace for each 800m so that you’re training your body to run at that pace when you’re tired.

Other fantastic intense workouts are hill workouts – find yourself a decent hill that’s maybe 50m long and run up and down. There are a couple of ways you can do it – push yourself on the up and take it easy on the down, or push yourself for both and repeat 5x then rest for a minute then repeat the exercise again. This training is great if you livein a hilly area or you’re running in a hilly race.

Woah, long comment. All the best with your interval training – I swear, it becomes addictive after awhile!

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Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' March 15, 2010

I love HIIT workouts! It’s been too long since I’ve done one, though! Thanks for the reminder!

I love how sweaty I can get in just 30 minutes! :D

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Nicole, RD March 15, 2010

I love HIIT workouts, too! I get bored on a treadmill otherwise, and I love the challenge!

You’re like the millionth person (including myself) who slept horribly last night! Yuck!

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Hannah March 15, 2010

Totally awesome workout!!

How many miles was it in total?

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) March 15, 2010

I LOVE HIIT workouts! They’re short, but brutal!

xo
K

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 15, 2010

oooh HIIT is HARD – but oh so good!!!!

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Katrina M March 15, 2010

oooooh i can’t wait for this health tip week!!! :)

i did some HIIT last summer without really knowing it apparently, haha. i would go to the track at the middle school by my house…. walk there (a little less than half a mile), jog the first lap, or sometimes i would jog about a mile to get there, then on my laps around the lap i would sprint (haha, well i call it sprinting, but i actually run pretty slow!) the straights and then jog the corners…. usually i would do about 3 laps this way and then take a slow lap, and aim for 3-4 sprint sessions usually equalling out to about a half hour. good to know i was doing something good!! haha… i think this week or next week i’m going to try to do it again, it was challenging but fun too! :)

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John March 15, 2010

I’ve just been waiting for the local track to be free of snow to start doing this. I did my first hill run last week. So soon my HM training will be 1 speed run(HIIT), one hill run and my long run. all the things necessary to go faster:-)

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Rachel March 15, 2010

In the spin classes I teach I always throw at least 2 interval tracks in – love them!

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Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ March 15, 2010

You can also use HIT training in your other workouts and even with resistance training, alternating some sprints, cardio, or plyometrics. It burns a lot more calories because you are working at a higher exertion rate. I love HIT training it is such a calorie burner and keeps the body guessing.

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Kristen @ Simply Savor March 15, 2010

looove HIIT training! I’m an AFAA certified group fitness and Zumba instructor and I teach a strength conditioning class specifically designed around the HIIT concept! I split up the body into major muscle groups–biceps, triceps, chest, back, glutes, legs, abs. I do 3 exercises for each body part with free weights or body weight, followed by a 1 minute cardio interval (jumping jacks, burpees, football feet, etc.), and then move on to the next body part. It’s one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle at the same time, and increases your calorie burn tremendously, even after you’ve stopped working out, and my clients love the fast pace (they say it takes their mind off of the difficulty). So glad you mentioned this! Thanks Angela!

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Allison @ Food For Healing March 15, 2010

my bf made me a HIIT plan once before a long time ago, haven’t done it since

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Sebrina March 15, 2010

So nice to meet you!! I found your blog today while I was doing a search for lululemon, lol. I can’t believe how much we have in common! the more I read through your archives the more I saw. I have bengal cat as well. I an also a lulu addict. I love to run and recently became a vegan.

Can’t wait to read more of your blog!!
Sebrina

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Emily March 15, 2010

Hi Angela! Regarding HIIT, “true” HIIT means that you are working at *peak* intensity during the high intensity intervals — meaning that you’re sprinting as though you’re being chased by a bear. For that reason, “true” HIIT should NEVER be done on a treadmill, because you’re very likely to fall off and hurt yourself. Once it warms up, HIIT is best done outdoors :)

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Emily March 15, 2010

I actually got in the best shape of my life a year ago by building up my HIIT workouts. I began by running a mile and then running 10 sets of 60 second intervals with walks in between. By 4 months later I was running 40 minutes of 60 on 60 off at 4.5 2% incline a between 7.5-8 at the same incline.

I want to get that back! Working at it again for the summertime :)

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) March 15, 2010

My hubby is a runner and hadn’t heard of this … I just told him about it and he is going to try it!

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Bridget @PavementandPlants March 15, 2010

I LOVE IT!!!!! I can only suggest programming a really great playlist for it. It’s amazing what you’re capable of when you push!!!!!!!!!!

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Nicole March 15, 2010

Hi Angela! I’ve been reading OSG for a while now and just wanted to say hello!

The place in the picture from summer looks like a beautiful place to run!

I’m really looking forward to Health Tip Week. :)

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Pam (Pamcakes and Eggs) March 16, 2010

I tried the HIIT thing last night after reading your post. Hmmm. The treadmills at the gym have an interval program that is 2 minutes/2 minutes. Sooo I learned last night that 2 minutes at 7.5 mph is TOUGH. ahhhh. I made it through 20 minutes then had to walk for a bit. Definitely going to try the HIIT again (mainly because I like typing HIIT).

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SoVeryFabulous March 16, 2010

I’m guilty of not going to the gym regularly (though I’m trying to change that!) but when I do go, I love doing HIIT. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and get a great workout in and save time as well.

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natalie @ nono2yoyo March 16, 2010

I love HIIT. I have several techniques that I love.
Here are a few:
start a your level 6 on a 1-10 scale, 1 being EASY and 10 being you are giving it 100%.
Level 6 one min
Level 7 one min
Level 8 one min
Level 9 one min
Level 10 one min
go back to six and work your way back up to 10. After you have done this four times, hit your level 10 for two minutes at the end.
OR
Level 6 one min
level 7 one min
Level 8 one min
Level 9 one min
Level 10 one min
Level 9 one min
level 8 one min
level 7 one min
Level 6 one min and then work your way back up and down for as many times as you’d like.

The last kind of HIIT that I love is called Guerillas. This is where you give it your all 100% for 20-30 seconds and then rest for 10 and then back on it for 20-30 seconds and then rest again for 10. You can rotate types of exercises or stay all on one machine…this is KILLER. You can get a HARD CORE intense butt kicking workout in less than 15-20 minutes!

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Susan March 16, 2010

I almost only ever do HIIT! My favourite is 15 minutes of 1 minute sprints (ie as fast as I can possibly go) followed by 2 minutes recovery (ie walking). It’s a fun way to finish of a weight lifting workout with a little bit of heart-pumping cardio :)

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Lee March 16, 2010

I’m fortunate to live in a tiny coastal town, so get to enjoy my intervals training on the beach. Most Sundays you will find me busily dodging the seagulls, while dreaming of the hot shower awaiting me ;-)

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JenRD March 17, 2010

Do you have any good playlists or music suggestions for HIIT? I find that a good beat really keeps me going! Thanks!

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janelle March 23, 2010

Loved your workout. I find that interval training is especially effective. My favorites include doing hill repeats using the jog down hill back to the start as the “cool down” period in between each set. It’s a great way to burn calories and strength. The workout that you posted here is awesome as well because so many of us hit the gym to do strength training followed by cardio. Thanks for posting this :)

-j-

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