Everything You Need to Know About HIIT Workouts

Everything You Need to Know About HIIT Workouts

No matter the goal - weight loss, strength, fat loss, increased endurance - High Intensity Interval Training has you covered.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short is a term used to describe any style of workout that creates circuits of exercises performed in a row, with limited rest between exercises. This style of workout can also be called tabata training.

HIIT workouts are unique because they place your body in state of strength training and cardiovascular training at the same time. This combination leads to a surplus of calories being burned each workout - and the workouts can be adapted to any skill level or strength level.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Athletes performing HIIT workouts

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First created for figure skating athletes to develop strength and cardio at the same time, HIIT workouts are a type of workout style that utilizes timed intervals rather than sets and reps.

Depending on the style of HIIT workout the interval time will be shorter (strength focus) or longer (cardio focus) to cater to each individual or groups fitness goals.

HIIT workouts should not be confused with supersets or cluster sets in bodybuilding. HIIT workouts are a unique style of training that pushes the body to work in short periods of all-out training followed by short periods of active rest in an effort make the body work harder in less time.

Free Bonus: Our Integrated HIIT Workout will get you seeing strength and conditioning results faster than you think.

Benefits of HIIT Training

HIIT workouts have numerous benefits but the main attraction comes with its ease of use and high metabolic rate.

Let's break down the core benefits of training with HIIT workouts.

Benefit #1: HIIT Workouts Can be Done Anywhere

man performing workout at home

greatist.com 

This style of training is unique in the sense that it can be done anywhere - and a lack of equipment isn't really an issue.

Since the primary focus is not necessarily to build strength, but generally to increase your metabolic rate through timed intervals, HIIT workouts rarely utilize a bunch of equipment.

Of course the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, skipping ropes and boxes will enable you to expand your training, but the average person can benefit form no equipment and timed intervals.

This style of training is great for people who want to shed some weight using calisthenic style exercises at home, or at the gym.

Benefit #2: Increased Metabolic Rate

Working out using high intensity interval training will increase your metabolic rate and promote massive effects in weight loss and fat loss.

The fat loss comes as a result of the increased metabolic rate. Since HIIT workouts requires you to train through multiple intervals with limited rest your body can utilize more fat as fuel to push you through the training session.

The increased metabolic rate can last up to 48 hours so you're still training even after you leave the gym!

Benefit #3: Best of Both Worlds (Time efficient)

Traditional strength training improves your anaerobic performance (performance without oxygen, lifting weights) whereas cardio training improves your aerobic capacity (performance with oxygen, running, biking). Most people who workout will train with both of these styles of workouts in an effort to improve cardio and strength independently.

HIIT workouts are unique in the sense that they promote great results in both aerobic capacity and anaerobic performance.

Benefit #4: HIIT Workouts Are Super Fun

Don’t forget that exercise is intended to be fun - you should enjoy the training.

Let's face it, cardio training such as running, biking and climbing stairs at steady state is not enjoyable - perhaps even boring. It's the same repetitive movement over and over again - and yes, it is easy to track progress - but HIIT workouts are much more fun!

High intensity interval training creates a unique twist into your workout by enabling you to train both cardio and strength while enjoying the workout.

Seriously, research shows that people enjoy HIIT workouts more than cardio, and are more likely to continue training on a program that has HIIT training as a focus.

How to Create a HIIT Workout for Specific Goals

HIIT workouts are an amazing way to improve your aerobic capacity and anaerobic performance in one shot, with limited time, limited space and limited equipment - but is it suitable for an extended time?

Can you only train with HIIT workouts and expect to meet all of your goals?

Yes and No. HIIT workouts are great for the beginner in the gym that is looking for a boost and a new style of training that is fun and interactive - but it's not exactly specific to certain goals.

Let's Break down some common goals to understand how HIIT training can help.

Weight Loss

One of the most common goals for beginners. HIIT workouts are perfect for weight loss. HIIT workouts will elevate your metabolic rate and help you sweat the weight off!

Here's an example of a HIIT workout with a focus on increasing the metabolic rate for weight loss.


GOAL: WEIGHT LOSS
Interval Time
Rest Between Exercises
KB Sumo Squat
40s
10s
Pushups
40s
10s
Treadmill Sprints
40s
10s
Squat Thrusters
60s
3min

 

If your goal is to lose weight your workout should emphasize large counter-movement lifts that are easy to do and can be completed for the entire interval time without resting during a working set.

The workout above is one set, and would be completed 3-4x depending on the strength of the athlete. For best results,  finish with a cool-down walk on an incline treadmill for 10 minutes.

Strength

When it comes to strength, HIIT workouts, in most cases are not the best option. They do not provide you with the correct training parameters that you would expect when you are trying to push more and more weight each day.

In order to utilize HIIT workouts in a strength based goal we need to create workouts with less interval time and more rest between exercises. Since the interval time is less we will use more exercises and more isolated exercises.


GOAL: STRENGTH
Interval Time
Rest Between Exercises
DB Romanian Deadlift
25s
10s
Overhead Press
25s
10s
DB Upright Row
25s
10s
Diamond Pushups
25s
10s
Treadmill Sprints
40s
10s
Walking Lunges
60s
3min

 

Although HIIT workouts are not the best method for increasing raw strength, a workout, like seen above can be a great way to add variability into your training and push through plateaus - plus, its fun!

Free Bonus: Our Integrated HIIT Workout will get you seeing strength and conditioning results faster than you think.

How to Fuel Your Body for HIIT Training

HIIT workouts are different than many of the other methods you would have tried in the past. Traditional strength training works quite well on a balanced diet that has a higher influence of carbohydrates in the diet, but what works best for HIIT workouts?

healthy food

swimming.org

Nutrition for Performance

If performance is your goal and you are constantly seeking more reps, stronger sets and higher interval times than a balanced diet with an emphasis on carbohydrates - catered to your body type will always be best.

Keep in mind that HIIT workouts are usually shorter than traditional strength training and as such you should eat foods that will provide your body with immediate source of energy.

Foods that provide your body with quick stores of energy are simple carbohydrates and creatine.

Simple carbohydrates, when consumed in high amounts have been shown to promote weight gain, so keep this off your radar if weight loss is important.

Nutrition for Weight Loss

Irrespective of the type of exercise you are involved in, weight loss is a simple factor or burning more energy (calories) than you eat.

This means keeping your body in a caloric deficit.

Your nutrition program should influence a macronutrient split that emphasizes a higher intake of fat. Your body will utilize fat as fuel more often than not - especially if you are training to maximal exertion each interval.

The closer you can get to your VO2max in each working set, the higher your metabolic rate will rise and the more calories you will burn.

Adapting HIIT Workouts Into Your Current Training Program

Long gone are the days where you need to spend endless hours in a steady-state run in order to increase your metabolic rate, lose weight and build muscle. .

Depending on your specific goal, HIIT workouts can be a great addition to your training regime. In order for you to get the most of your training, HIIT workouts can be added in to provide variability and accessory work.

If your goal is to lose weight, try putting 2-3 HIIT workouts in each week to give your body a boost in metabolic rates.

On the other hand, if your goal is to build strength you can add 1-2 HIIT workouts a week to keep your muscles guessing - plus this training can really help you improve your total rep counts!

HIIT workouts are perfect for those that are new to training, they do not require very much equipment and they can be added into pre-existing workout regimes in order to boost metabolism and kick start weight loss.

Free Bonus: Our Integrated HIIT Workout will get you seeing strength and conditioning results faster than you think.
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