Not to be confused with “get rich quick” schemes, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is no scheme. It’s a highly effective, proven approach for building lean body mass, boosting metabolism, improving insulin sensitivity, and increasing fitness and performance. Since you can whittle down your workout from a long, boring 60 minutes to a quick but intense 20 minute workout, it’s the best option for time crunched people, but also a great adjunct for anyone interested in fitness and health.
There are many variations to HIIT, but the basic format is:
- 3 – 5 minute warmup of your choice
- 30 seconds of intense movement (ex: sprinting)
- 90 seconds of lower intensity movement (ex: relaxed jog)
- Repeat the 30:90 sequence 8 – 10 times
- 3 – 5 minute cool down of your choice
You can do this sequence with walking/running, cycling, swimming, running stairs, elliptical, and even jump roping. Also, you determine the level of intensity that works for you. And, there’s no pressure to do this every day. In fact, it is best to limit HIIT to no more than three times per week. On the off days, you can do your longer cardio workouts, weight train, and/or practice yoga.
HIIT workouts will be intense, but just for a short period, and you get to recover completely before starting the intense phase again. So you’re not huffing and puffing through a long, grueling workout. Because the recovery is built right in, you actually finish this workout feeling refreshed and with more energy!