Health & Wellness

What is HIIT? [A Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training]

This article may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Privacy Policy.

With the holidays approaching, you may be thinking about your New Year’s resolution. One of the most popular resolutions is to start a fitness routine.

One of the most effective (and popular) methods of exercise is HIIT.

HIIT is a scientifically-backed approach to burning fat and building muscle. So, if you’re serious about creating a better you in 2020, you must incorporate HIIT into your fitness routine.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an acronym for high-intensity interval training. HIIT utilizes intervals in which periods of intense workouts are broken up by periods of rest.

Brad Cooley, owner, and founder of FIT36, adds, “HIIT has been scientifically proven to burn more calories in a shorter period of time, and for a longer period of time, as well as to retain muscle gained throughout the training period.”

On a hypothetical scale of 1-10, with 1 representing binge-watching Netflix and a 10 representing an all-in, hold-nothing-back kind of intensity, periods of exercise should be met with at least a level 8 or 9 kind of passion.

HIIT instructors use ratios to designate active and rest intervals. A 1:1 ratio indicates 1 minute of physical exertion followed by 1 minute of rest.

Beginners may be most comfortable with a 1:1 ratio, while more advanced fitness may opt for longer workouts with a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio.

But don’t push it too hard, rest periods are equally important for proper HIIT sessions.

If you go too hard, you will be robbing yourself of the power (and benefits) of interval training. And due to the intense nature of HIIT, you will get the most out of them if you rest between HIIT days as well. A regime of 2-3 days/week is a good place to be.

Thanks to its scientific backing, HIIT is one of the most popular workouts for both weight loss and maintaining overall health for athletes. In fact, it is so popular that it ranks #2 on the American College of Sports Medicine 2020 Fitness Trend.

How Does HIIT Work?

Interval training forces the body to cycle from an aerobic to anaerobic state continually. Basically, it’s all about oxygen. During periods of high intensity, the body experiences a loss in oxygen and a buildup of lactic acid.

Rest times act as an opportunity to restore oxygen to the body and reduce lactic acid. As that happens, oxygen helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Eventually, your body will get pretty good at the exchange, increasing your stamina, ability, and metabolism.

Maintaining good habits is crucial to any lifestyle change, and HIIT is no exception. Cooley reminds us, “The key to a successful HIIT regiment will greatly depend on consistency (without overtraining) and a healthy nutrition plan to keep your body energized and recovering well.

So don’t get too bogged down on how you move your body during those intense periods. Just start moving.

Here’s Why We Love HIIT

  • It’s great for your body. Not only will interval training build your cardiovascular health and boost your metabolism, but the benefits also extend to brain health and insulin regulation.
  • It will help you lose those extra pounds and keep them off! More metabolism=less fat cells.
  • With no rigid guidelines, there is freedom to create your own exercises and keeps it interesting. So if you get bored of one activity, you can easily interchange it with something else.
  • It requires a minimal time commitment. Even 10 minutes can give you a quick boost for your day and help your body soak in those benefits.
  • It’s adaptable to all fitness levels. As mentioned before, your activities and ratios are totally customizable, making it equally effective for beginners and more seasoned athletes alike.

What You Need To Get Started With HIIT

The best thing about HIIT is that you don’t need any equipment to get in a killer workout. For those CrossFit enthusiasts, burpees and jump squats may sound appealing. For those with slightly more realistic abilities, planks, sprints, and jumping jacks are good too.

A quick Google search will give you a plethora of options. Just be sure to keep your eye on a timer to stay true to your ratio. To get started, here’s a basic 10-minute workout that utilizes a 1:1 active to rest time ration:

As we mentioned above, there are no rigid guidelines. Feel free to change the order or swap out any of your favorite exercises.

And if you are ready to get serious about your health, consider hitting up a HIIT gym, like FIT36, where you will have the support you need to gain new skills and get healthy in their 36-minute classes.

So go ahead and indulge in those leftover holiday treats–just don’t forget to keep moving.

And if you must binge-watch a ridiculous amount of Christmas movies, throw in a 15 minute HIIT exercise between each one. And who knows? If you start now, you can save that New Year’s resolution for something more exciting.

Nicole Post

view post

More from Health & Wellness category