High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
I thought it was time to write an article about taking your interval training to the next level. You may have already heard about HIIT training but not known what it was about. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is a killer form of cardio used by people who want to burn fat quickly with really intense workouts.
In other words, if you are just starting out this is not the right type of training for you. This is the kind of training that can make inexperienced people get nauseous and very light-headed so be warned! I would recommend this only to athletes and really fit individuals who have been training consistently for at least 6 months in a row.
With all that said let’s look at an example of HIIT and what it consists…
HIIT Example – Jogging/Sprinting Intervals:
Total time = 20 minutes
8 minute warm up jog so you break a sweat (6.0 mph on a treadmill)
30 second sprint at your maximal effort (9-10 mph on a treadmill)
30 second quick paced jog (7 mph)
The above two 30 second intervals are cycled 7-8 times until you get to the 15 or 16 minute mark
4-5minutes cool down jog (5.0 mph on treadmill)
This doesn’t seem like much time does it? Well the intensity of this is so high that you will without a doubt be completely exhausted and wheezing by the 15 minute mark. If you’re one to measure the intensity by use of your heart rate, the sprints should get you into the 80% max HR territory.
This example of High Intensity Interval Training can be applied to almost any activity (some examples: cycling, rowing, rollerblading, swimming, jumping rope). With that said, sprinting is absolutely the most efficient way of burning fat because all the muscles in your body are being used and you will be firing up your metabolism for several hours after you have finished your workout! Pretty sweet hey?
Precautions when training with HIIT:
The number one precaution is to make sure that you are eating healthy and that you have had 2-3 glasses of water an hour before this kind of training. Also, you want to make sure you are getting adequate protein and carbs at least an hour before and after your workout as well.
A great ratio to consider is 2:1 carbs to protein. The best carbs to consider include: bananas, mangos, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and brown rice. Some smart protein sources include: lean meats (such as chicken breast, fish, prawns/shrimp, extra lean beef), beans/legumes, low-fat dairy products (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese), and of course whey protein powder and hemp protein.
The second precaution is that you should never do two days of High Intensity Interval Training in a row. This kind of training puts a great amount of stress on your muscles, joints, and bones and a minimum of 24 hours is required to allow your body to recover. Be smart and make sure you get adequate sleep or you may be compromising the integrity of your immune system
A third precaution is that if you ever feel light-headed or have any kind of trouble breathing make sure to stop or at least take it down a notch. Many times light-headedness means that your diet before this training was inadequate with carbohydrates and electrolytes (salt, potassium), so try adjusting this the next day and see how it affects your training. Furthermore, drinks such as Scivation Xtend and BSN CellMass are also a good idea to make sure your electrolyte levels are balanced.
- Creatine for volumizing and strength gains (Try this: ProMera Health Con-Cret)
- Glutamine for immunity and muscle recovery (Try this: Muscle Pharm Recon or Optimum Glutamine)
- Whey protein for muscle tissue development (Try this: Platinum Hydrobuilder)
Once again, unless you have been training consecutively and consistently for at least 6 months don’t jump into this kind of training as it could lead to health problems and injuries. A good strength training routine to increase the strength of your muscles and joints is preferable for several weeks before you get into HIIT (for workout routines check out my articles Workout Routines for Men, & Workout Routines for Women).
Your comments are always appreciated, let me know if you’ve tried HIIT and what kind of results you have gotten…
Hi Sam, this looks great! I am gonna add it to my routine. The only problem is that I am only 5’1 and running on the treadmill at that max speed of 9-10 would probably throw me right off…any other suggestions for speed?
Great article, great tips, as always
Keep up the great work!
Hi Brenda, you need to get to a speed which you could basically only do for about 30 seconds at a time, probably around 8.0mph would be my best guess, but height shouldn’t matter too much once you get seriously conditioned. Some of the best sprinters I’ve trained are under 5’6!
Can I do this routine in addition to weight training? I’m at a healthy weight range, I just need to get toned, especially on the midsection.
Absolutely, very good idea to add it to your weight training routine, just make sure it is after your weights or on another day completely.
I have been working out a while but was injured with shin splints and not able to run for a while. I did do interval training before… I gained 10lbs over this time. I am looking to lose weight but tone at the same time. I have been doing the advanced workout routine you have if I want to add in the intervals when would be best days to do them? Should they be done on cardio days?
You got it right
Hey Sam, this is great article….i m 20 year old guy…my thighs and hips are too fat….and because of that my body structure looks awkward…please help me how can i reduce them…looking forward for your reply.
This article will help you immensely and watch your diet…check out the healthy nutrition section for all my best advice on that topic.
I currently go to a gym and do 2 miles on the treadmill at 6.5 speed
Then I do my ab crunches and some weights for 15 minutes.
I am trying to tone and lose belly fat
I am 5’9. 175lb.
I want to try the hiit training but you said not to do it 2 days in a row
What should I do in the gym on the In-between days?
Should I do just a full workout of weights and abs?
Everything is skinny. My legs, arms etc. except for my stomach.
I work out my abs 5 days a week and they do feel tighter but I cannot see them because I need to burn this fat first. Am I wasting time doing crunches?
Yes too many ab crunches, focus onHIIT training
Hey bro, great article. I was just wondering if the HIIT could be done outside on the track or field instead of the treadmill?
Absolutely can be, treadmill is just an easier way to do it without the impact on your joints.
Hi Sam, great article and great site! I’ve been using the whole site to make my workouts up and it has made such a difference! I just have a quick question though. When running on the treadmill, what should the incline be? I heard that running at no incline is like running downhill. Any suggestions on what I should be running at during HIIT?
You bet, and you have heard right, the incline should be at about 1.5 to mimic resistance of running on pavement.
I just looked at your Fat loss and Weight training 5 day Circuit, which incorporates HIIT on the cardio days and led me to this article.
I love the 5 day plan for fat loss and strength training, but I am also a distance runner so I always feel conflicted on how to fit in my longer runs while keeping a consistant circuit/resistance training routine. Any advice?
Great question Claire, you’d want to do a few weeks of the high intensity training while working on strength and then gradually switch over to longer duration running. Thus, a phased approach is definitely the best way to go where you take 4-6 weeks and work on strength and then switch and do 4-6 weeks on endurance and longer distances. This is the technique that athletes use and is highly effective.
Please could you provide me routine for beginning.
thank you for your time.
Hi Hestudo, do you mean a beginning training routine for high intensity interval training? If so then you’ll just want to start off with going from 2 miles per hour up to 6 miles per hour, and after a several weeks move it up to 6mph with a high speed of 9mph. Let me know if that helps.
Hi, I do hiit on Mon, Wed and Fri and im just wondering if weight training is ok to do in between my hiit days on Tues and Thurs or should I just do steady state cardio on those days instead? My goal is to drop body fat…
Hey Kristie, I would definitely recommend weight training on your in between days as you’ll need the muscle to increase your metabolism.