HIIT Workouts Boost Fitness Better

Whenever I meet a new personal training client, one of the main ideas I want to get across is the benefits of HIIT or interval workouts. 

One way to do intervals is commonly known as HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training).

HIIT are a type of interval, but intervals can also be much longer. HIIT is meant to be short and intense. 

Intervals are the foundation of any fitness program, and they can be done by people of any age or experience level. 

You may reap as much benefit as a twice-a-week interval session as you do when you walk, use the stair stepper or elliptical at the gym every day for an hour. 

HIIT intervals benefits include burning stubborn stomach fat and improve cardiovascular functioning (how efficiently your heart pumps). 

All this in a fraction of the time as long sessions on the elliptical. 

Too Much Cardio Can Be a Waste of Time

I see people at the gym who do nothing but easy or moderate cardio every day. 

This kind of workout helps fitness, but if you really want to jump-start your fitness as well as shorten your workout time, HIIT intervals provide the most benefit.

A short interval session can boost VO2 (your body?s capacity to utilize oxygen efficiently), increase your endurance capacity, and can help burn more calories than traditional workouts. 

An interval is a session where you work really hard for a short time period, rest, then do it again for as long as possible. 

One HIIT workout benefit is becoming the foundation of any fitness program, and they can be done by people of any age or experience level.
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Tabata Intervals are Famous for a Good Reason: They Work!

You play with two variables with interval training: duration of the work and duration of the rest. 

An example of an interval session is a Tabata interval with 20 seconds full gas and 10 seconds of rest. 

Typically, when I start someone new at intervals, we do a total of two minutes of Tabata, with rowing, ball slams, wall balls, or the Airdyne bike. 

You can even start with jumping jacks and squats to overhead presses (power snatch). Sprints are also good HIIT work.

And yes, I do this with over 60-year-old people too, although our full gas isn?t and our duration is shorter.

Older people still get the benefits of HIIT workouts.

I find ellipticals and treadmills a bit more challenging for HIIT work since it takes the machines a bit to speed up and slow down. 

Be Consistent to Get Benefits of HIIT Workout

An example of an interval session is a Tabata interval with 20 seconds full gas and 10 seconds of rest. 

The key to HIIT is to be consistent in the work. You want to go hard, but not so hard as to die out in the last 10 seconds. 

It will take you some time to figure out how hard to go during the interval

Generally, by the third 20-second full gas work, you should be breathing like someone is chasing you! 

That?s the challenge of HIIT: it?s hard. Really hard. 

One client says that three minutes feels like 20…

But the great part of HIIT is that it doesn?t last long. 

For example, I work with one man who does rowing intervals. 

We started at two minutes and now we?re doing four minutes. With warm up and cool down, that?s about 10 minutes of work. 

The benefit of a HIIT workout is that, while challenging, is that it’s a short day.

You Don’t Need Treadmills or Ellipticals

To start with intervals, I?d suggest doing some kind of ball slam or exercise like squats to overhead presses

Use a timer on your phone or keep your eye on a wall clock. 

Move fairly quickly for 20 seconds. You should feel your heart rate starting to increase. 

Rest for 10 seconds. If you?re doing a ball slam, let the ball stay on the floor. 

Start the process over. 

Try and go for two minutes. 

Be sure to start a little slowly. 

One guy I work with slammed the heck out of the ball in the first 20 seconds the first time he did the intervals, and he barely made it to two minutes! 

Limit Yourself to Two or Three HIIT Sessions a Week

However, too much of a good thing can be harmful. 

You can lose the benefit of a HIIT workout.

It?s easy to dig a hole for yourself by doing HIIT work every day. 

Limit your interval work to twice a week at the beginning, and make sure you have a solid recovery day the next day. 

You can do weight training and intervals on the same day to make one really hard day, then recover the next. 

The Essentials for HIIT Work Benefits

So here?s the essentials for intervals or HIIT:

  • Do the first few sessions of HIIT work at a moderate intensity to gauge how the efforts feel over the course of 20 seconds. 
  • Be consistent over the full 20 seconds. 
  • Rest fully for the 10 second recovery.
  • Start with one minute of work, and work up to 10 minutes over time.
  • Build up to no more than three HIIT sessions per week.  

Intervals and HIIT are the Best Bang for Your Training Buck

Intervals are a great way to build fitness, build more endurance, and get stronger. 

HIIT workouts benefit so much in your fitness: building endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, and strength.

If you have questions or comments, or want to try out a HIIT session, contact me below.

Contact me about coming to Simple Training in Hales Corners and we can set up a session.