Fitness Fun

Is Your Workout A HIIT?

When it comes to working out, there generally are two types of people.

There are those of us who do better with longer, slower workouts. Setting a nice, steady pace and holding it for as long as possible which trains the slow twitch muscles. These are the marathon runners out there.

The other type basically includes the sprinters of the world. They are good at short bursts of butt-busting work that trains the fast-twitch muscle followed by rest periods.

If you prefer quick, high-intensity workouts, like me, then HIIT (high-intensity interval training) might just be the workout style for you.

It can help you burn the most calories during a set period of time. These workouts are highly effective if you find yourself short on time because HIIT workouts can be as short as 4 minutes long and rarely go over 20 minutes.

Just because HIIT workouts are shorter doesn’t make them easier. HIIT training is going to require you to push yourself hard for short periods of time followed by short rest periods.

When should you do HIIT?

A group of people doing a hiit workout

HIIT training isn’t for everyone and it is VERY physically demanding. You should be able to complete a fairly stringent 20-30 minute workout before starting on a HIIT.

HIIT workouts provide diversity to your workouts but should not be used every day.

According to one expert, “We have to caution you because the research is clear: if you do long and slow exercise, your muscle — that’s slow-twitch fiber — will heal in as little as 24 hours. But when you work fast-twitch fiber, whether it’s an NFL athlete, or me or anyone, it takes about 48 hours for the muscle to recover and rebuild. We recommend [HIIT Exercise] be done three times a week and never on back to back days.”

One important advantage to longer recovery periods is your body continues to burn more calories until it is healed.

How To Do HIIT

A woman with battle ropes doing a hiit workout

HIIT training is a combination of high and low periods of exercise designed to work out different muscle fiber types. HIIT workouts vary from a 1:4, 1:2, 1:1 ratio of high to low-intensity exercise.

Here is an example of what a HIIT regimen would look like:

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So let’s say that for the first set you’re going to do something simple like high knees for the high-intensity period which is thirty seconds.  You’re going to go all out with your high knees going as fast as you possibly can.

For the recovery period, you would then jog in place at a slower pace. MHR in the graph means Maximum Heart Rate. After 2 minutes of jogging for the recovery period, you would once again open up and go full intensity again.

There is no break in between sets because the “Recovery Period” <strong>is</strong> your break.

Now, 30 seconds of all-out training doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, it is. It’s enough to kick your butt. As you get in better and better shape you can reduce your recovery period and increase your high-intensity period.

Which exercise you do is up to you, but here are a few recommendations of pretty simple exercises that you can do, depending on targeted areas you want to tone:

Sit-Ups or Mountain Climbers

Push-Ups or Shadow Boxing

Body Weight Squats or Step-Ups

Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Burpees or Squat Thrusts

That’s HIIT training in a nutshell. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t take a lot of time, but if you do it right, it will kick your butt!

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skyler meine

skyler meine

Writer and expert

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