HIIT has recently become all the rage in gym and fat loss circles these days. You can’t open a fitness magazine or go online without hearing somebody talking about it. I always hear people bragging about how they’ve done 45 or 50 minute HIIT training routine. The problem is, most of these people don’t really know what they’re talking about!
True HIIT workouts alternative periods of low intensity with periods of extraordinarily high intensity. When I say extraordinarily high intensity, I mean it. It’s 100% of your effort. You shouldn’t be able to keep it up for longer than 20 or 30 seconds. I’m talking about the kind of intensity you would have if there was a hungry bear behind you and you were running for your life. This is the kind of intensity that makes HIIT so effective.
When people come to me and tell me about their 45 minute HIIT workout, I immediately raise an eyebrow. I’m sorry, but unless you are a word-class athlete, there is just no way you’d be able to keep up a true HIIT training routine at the required intensity for that long. What these people who think they’re doing HIIT are actually doing is simple interval training.
Interval training is certainly not bad, it has its place and purpose, it’s just not a HIIT workout. Interval training involves changing intensity’s and/or exercises throughout a workout. HIIT is a type of interval training, but interval training is not a type of HIIT training.
For example, if you were to alternate periods of walking with periods of light running over a period of an hour, this would be interval training and not HIIT training. It becomes HIIT training when your exertion level is at 100% of your maximum.
Because you’re putting in so much effort, it’s extremely difficult to keep up a true HIIT workout for longer than 20-25 minutes. These types of workouts are simply too taxing to continue for any longer. Luckily, that’s ok. You’ll get all the benefits that HIIT training routine’s provide in this amount of time. One of the greatest advantages of HIIT training is the fact that your body will burn calories for hours after completion. This is a distinct difference to traditional steady-state cardio.
A typical HIIT training routine alternates periods of no/low activity for 90 seconds, with periods of maximum intensity for 30 seconds. Beginners might repeat this process 5 times for a total of 10 minutes. As you progress, you will repeat the process up to 10 or 12 times, for a total or 20-24 minutes.
It’s important never to rush into a HIIT training routine. It’s best to only attempt one once you’re already in good shape. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.