The Essentials of HIIT

If your goal is fat loss, muscle gain, or athletic performance, high-intensity interval training can help you achieve it. Here are some helpful tips for each goal.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn fat in the gym, but that’s not all this type of cardio training is good for.

The essential framework of high-intensity interval training is always the same: Brief, all-out work periods, separated by rest periods that you wish were just a little longer. The work-to-rest ratio can vary from 1:1 (for example, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) to 1:4 or more, and the rounds can be just a few or 15 or more. But no matter how long you rest, the key is that you bring everything you’ve got to your intervals.

HIIT can be used to lose as much fat as possible while cutting, to stay lean and conditioned while adding muscle, or to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance for performance-focused athletes.

High-Intensity Interval Training: The Essentials

While some coaches will recommend doing interval workouts with everything from bodyweight squats to machine bench presses, I believe that HIIT is cardio, and should be treated like cardio.

In other words, stick to either cardio machines or sprinting. Here are a few choices:

  • Treadmill sprints
  • Stairmaster
  • Jumping rope
  • Cycle sprints

In all cases, I recommend starting off with a short dynamic stretching warm-up and a 3-4-minute jog or light pedal before each routine, plus 4-5 minutes of light jogging or cardio as a cool-down. For both of these, go no higher than 50 percent of your maximum heart rate. Here’s the warm-up I recommend:

  • Toe touch 15 reps
  • Walking lunge 10 reps per leg
  • Side lunge 10 reps per side
  • Butt kick 25 reps per leg
  • High knee 25 reps per leg
  • Arm circle 20 reps per leg
  • Trunk twist 20 reps per side
  • Side bend 20 reps per side

Then, get to work! If you’re using a heart rate monitor (which I recommend and is a good tool to measure your optimum “zone”), a brisk walk or jog is about 65-75 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). A sprint is more like 90-95 percent. It’s an all-out battle!

What Kind Of Results Can I Expect From HIIT?

HIIT will help accelerate fat loss and improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance. HIIT will most likely produce very fast results in a short period of time, which is why it has been gaining popularity ever since it was introduced to the fitness community.

Nobody can promise any specific results, but it is feasible that after an eight-week cycle of HIIT combined with weight training, you and those around you will be able to notice a significant change to your body. Athletes will be able to perform better in their given sport and will outperform others toward the end of games when everyone else is getting tired.

Georgetown Fitness offers HIIT training – please join us and experience an intense workout like never before!

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