What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and why should you do it?!

I am a big fan of HIIT training – High Intensity Interval Training. It combines intense bursts of work with recovery and rest to burn calories fast in a shorter amount of time!
beach running small sizeThe concept is simple: do your cardio at a normal pace, but pepper your routine with short intervals – usually 30 seconds to 1 min – where you are pushing yourself to your max. Perfect for those wanting to push themselves but you can also adapt the workout to fit into your regular cardio routine. Do this 2-3 times a week after your resistance workouts to use body fat for energy!

HIIT workouts also target belly fat to help you get flat abs! But while high intensity intervals are effective, make sure you space out your HIIT workouts so you aren’t pushing your body too much. Make sure you alternate with lower intensity cardio workouts, along with your normal strength-training routine, for an exercise plan that’s safe and effective.

3 HIIT Interval Training workouts:
Workout#1: HIIT Treadmill Workout: Intervals with an incline.
Warm-up: 5 minute walk or jog at a comfortable pace. If you don’t have access to a treadmill you can do this outdoors as well J Then find a treadmill setting that you can sustain for no more than one minute, and set your incline and speed to a slightly higher than what you are comfortable with. After 1 minute of running or jogging then you should feel as if you are working out at about an 8/10 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale. 1 Minute Work – 2 Minutes Recovery: Next, after going all-out for one minute (the work interval), slow down for two minutes (the recovery interval). Everyone’s recovery interval will vary depending on your fitness level. “Easy” may be a 2.5 mph walk at zero incline, or a 3.5 mph jog. After two minutes in recovery, you should feel ready to go full force again. Your heart rate will stay elevated through the entire High Intensity Interval Training Workout. Do 5-8 Intervals followed by a 10 minute cool down.

Workout #2: HIIT Track/Outdoor Workout.
Warm-up: 5 minute walk or gentle jog. Intervals: Give your maximum effort to sprint for 30 seconds on the track or outdoors, slow down to a a walk, for 2 minutes. The idea is that you are going so hard during the work interval that you will need to walk during the recovery period. Do 6-10 intervals followed by a 5-10 minute cool down.

Workout #3: HIIT Bike Ride.
You can do this outdoors or on an indoor stationary bike. Warm-up: Warm up at a comfortable pace for 5-10 minutes. Intervals: After your warm up stand up and accelerate for 30 seconds then sit down and keep up this speed for another 30 seconds (1 minute high intensity in total), then gradually back down to a comfortable pace. Repeat this every 5 minutes. Do this for between 30-60 minutes followed by a 5-10 minute cool down.

Remember to exercise smart and build in 1-2 recovery days each week to let your body recover. Exercise can stress your body if it is too intense as it stimulates the body’s fight or flight response, pumping out the stress hormone cortisol, so it you don’t give your body enough time to rest, it will exhaust itself. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and that motivates you, but doesn’t feel impossible. Remember it should be fun!

**To determine if you are pushing yourself hard enough with any cardio exercise, use the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale; An RPE of 1 means very easy. A 9 to 10 means you’re so out of breath you cannot speak. If you have been working out alot and have a higher fitness level, aim for a 8-9 during the work intervals. If you are still building up your fitness level, aim for 6-7.

If you would like some advice on your exercise or are looking for a Personal Trainer in Richmond, Twickenham, Chiswick or Wimbledon contact Laura on info@truevitality.co.uk