Fast Fitness: High Intensity Interval Training

Senior Woman On Running Machine In Gym

Lose Fat and Get Fit Super Fast with HIIT.

High intensity interval training, known as HIIT for short, is making waves as a way to lose fat fast. Does that sound like a scam to you? Thousands of products and workouts claim to help devotees drop weight in a time pinch, but few of them have what high intensity interval training does – scientific evidence to back the claims.  

Studies published in respected scientific journals have linked HIIT workouts with everything from fast muscle buildup to decreased blood sugar. “High-intensity interval training induces skeletal muscle metabolic and performance adaptations that resemble traditional endurance training despite a low total exercise volume,” says the abstract to one such study published in the Journal of Physiology. It almost sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. It’s the real deal.  

What is this seeming miracle exercise method, and how can you start benefiting from it? Read on to find out why high intensity interval training is so effective, as well as how you can integrate it into your exercise routine in a safe and effective manner. 

What is High Intensity Interval Training? 

High intensity interval training is exactly what the name implies. It involves short, high intensity bursts of cardio activity, such as running or biking, spaced in between equally short periods of rest. Some people use HIIT for other workouts, such as heavy weight lifting, as well. Because maximum intervals are usually one minute, and a full HIIT workout has 8-10 high intensity intervals, the entire workout takes 20 minutes. 

How does High Intensity Interval Training Work?

A traditional cardio workout involves a medium amount of activity extended over a long period of time. All an HIIT workout does is to compress this activity into a smaller space, forcing you to push harder for less time. Because an HIIT workout involves pushing yourself, it helps you increase your anaerobic limits, or how much your body can do with limited oxygen. Your body then takes a while to recover from each high intensity interval training session, maximizing calorie burn.  

Over time, HIIT has been shown to benefit blood sugar and insulin levels. It can also help you lose fat while building muscle, since it burns so many calories while demanding your muscles to work harder. 

How Can I Do High Intensity Interval Training? 

You may have surmised that, while high intensity interval training is a fast and highly effective way to get fit, it is by no means easy. Building your stamina and staying committed will help you see real results. 

Note that the best place for high intensity interval training is a controlled workout environment, like a treadmill or a track. Trying to do an HIIT workout on sidewalks is probably not a great idea, since other pedestrians or traffic lights can mess with your progress. There is a home training high intensity interval training workout DVD called insanity by Shaun T (below) which is getting rave reviews for the results it gets in as little as 60 days and is available at if you would like to try high intensity interval training at home.

Remember that high intensity interval training is based on pushing yourself to your limit, but you should not go so fast that you make yourself sick. During your intervals, you will want to be going at 85-90% or your maximum heart rate.Fast results speedometer If you can chat with the person next to you, you are going too slowly; if you feel like you are going to throw up or pass out, you are going too fast. Finding a balance can be difficult, but doing so will ensure that you have the healthiest and most beneficial HIIT experience possible. And remember to take water, a towel (for sweat), and a good pair of sneakers with you. 

Beginner HIIT Workout (12 minutes): Run or bike as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Slow down, and maintain a slow pace for one minute. Repeat 8 times. 

Accelerated HIIT Workout (10 minutes): Run or bike as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Slow down, and maintain a slow pace for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times. 


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