Benefits of Interval Training (HIIT)

High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a great way to get the most from limited work out time.  HIIT workouts can range from taking four minutes to thirty, plus a warm up and cool down if it’s short and including them if you’re working out a little longer.  While HIIT is great for those who are short on time, it’s also a great weight loss tool, a fun way to keep workouts mixed up, and there is no equipment required.

HIIT involves alternating periods of maximal exertion with periods of rest.  Work and rest should occur in a 2:1 ratio with the intensity mimicking that ratio.  Work period should be at maximal, 100% efforts while rests should be at 50% effort.  A great example is sprinting for one minute then walking for thirty seconds and repeating.  A popular form of HIIT known as Tabata training was created by Izumi Tabata and uses cycles of 20 seconds of intense activity partnered with 10 seconds of rest between sets for 8 rounds (notice the optimal 2:1 ratio of these intervals), and one round should take four minutes.

The ultimate goal of interval training is to bring your heart rate up and down repeatedly, leading to increased cardiovascular capacity, increased insulin sensitivity, increased lactate threshold, decreased recovery time and numerous studies have demonstrated that HIIT increases resting metabolic rate (RMR)  leads to improvements in athletic performance.  HIIT’s maximal exertion pushes you into the anaerobic training zone, which isn’t a place steady state workouts visit.  Steady state exercise, such as a long walk or hour on the elliptical causes your body to burn more fat than glycogen, but when trying to lose weight, the goal is to burn the most total fat.  Interval training gives you rest periods which allow you to perform at a maximal rate for longer length of time than steady state activities, so you will burn more total fat by using HIIT.   This is great for burning fat because it throws your body into super repair mode and helps jump start your metabolism. During the up to 24 hours post workout your muscles are working to repair themselves, human growth hormone (HGH) production increases, leading to increased burning of calories and possibly slowing the aging process.

The best benefit of HIIT is that you don’t need a gym or any equipment other than yourself to get it done.  Anything and everything, including running, jumping, jumping rope, air squats, burpees, lunges, push-ups, and sit-ups can all be used to do interval training.  So get out there and give it a try!

Have questions about working HIIT into your routine or what kind of exercises might be best for you?  Ask us through email at

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