Not many people are familiar with the HIIT system of training (High Intensity Interval Training). Often time when I speak to people in the gym, I will hear them rave about their half marathon run (something that personally I couldn’t do because I find it too mundane), or the conventional 3 mile run on the treadmill. But, rarely do I hear people talk about their 10 minutes HIIT sprints session, or their 15 minutes HIIT stair climb session. Why? The first reason would be because it is too hard to complete, which is not a good excuse. The second reason would be because most people are not even familiar with the HIIT program.
What is 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 to have the entire HIIT session last at least fifteen minutes and not more than twenty.
Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. The original protocol set a 2:1 ratio for work to recovery periods. For example, a runner would alternate 15-20 seconds of hard sprinting with 10 seconds of jogging or walking.
HIIT is considered to be an excellent way to maximize a workout that is limited on time
A few facts about the HIIT program:
- HIIT increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) for the following 24 hours due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and may improve maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) more effectively than doing only traditional, long aerobic workouts.
- Long aerobic workouts have been promoted as the best method to reduce fat, as fatty acid utilization usually occurs after at least 30 minutes of training. HIIT is somewhat counterintuitive in this regard, but has nonetheless been shown to burn fat more effectively. There may be a number of factors that contribute to this, including an increase in RMR, and possibly other physiological effects.
- It has been shown that two weeks of HIIT can substantially improve insulin action in young healthy men. HIIT may therefore represent a viable method for prevention of type-2 diabetes.
The beauty about the HIIT aerobic system is that you do not need a gym to complete the program. Also, you are not limited to sprints either.
These are a few examples of how to utilize the HIIT outside your gym:
- Climb up the stairs in your building as fast as you can for 60 seconds, and rest while stepping down (do not take your time, 30-45 seconds only) to the starting point. Repeat for 15 minutes.
- Jump rope for 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10-12 minutes (you will build your cardiovascular endurance to up to 20 minutes in time).
- Find the nearest stadium, climb the stairs as fast as you can, step down slowly to the starting point and repeat for 15-20 minutes.
I can go on and on with examples, but you get the idea. The HIIT program is very short aerobic session with comparison to the other conventional long run (or elliptical, or bike, etc) aerobic methods, but make no mistakes, it will leave you out of breath!
Check out this short video to see the HIIT program in action: