“HIIT me with your best shot! Come on and HIIT me with your best shot. HIIT me with your best shot! Fire away!”
Are all of these blog posts going to start with very obvious song lyrics? Probably. Do you know how hard it is to come up with an original intro every. single. time? It’s hard, m’kay. Very hard. (That’s what she said.)
Anyhoo, today’s hot topic is High Intensity Interval Training. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, that term is generally abbreviated “HIIT.” Prepare for an obnoxious amount of plays on the word “hit.” You’ve been warned.
According to this very helpful definition we completely stole from Precision Nutrition’s Ryan Andrews, who has a bunch of Very Important Sounding Letters after his name and thus Must Be An Expert, a HIIT is “when you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.
“For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows.”
When you’re doing the hard work of a HIIT, your heart rate should be pretty high, like 70-90% of your max HR. (This is all under the assumption you’re a relatively healthy individual. And you already know this, but check with your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen.)
As another example, something AJ does, you could jump rope for say 20-30 seconds, and then do 20-30 seconds of squats before resting for 10-15 seconds, and then start the whole sequence again. You’d want to do that for a number of rounds, say 10-15.
The sky’s the limit when you want to HIIT that. Sprinting, biking real hard, body weight exercises, weight lifting (with good form, ya meathead). Most exercises will work for HIITs.
Why would you want to HIIT it up? HIIT is good for your cardiovascular health or when you’re short on time or when you just wanna shake up your regular routine.
Note that although you’ll feel like you’re burning thousands upon thousands of calories because you are HIITing it so damn hard, you likely are not.
As our good friend Aadam over at Physiquonomics (fine, we’re not friends. Not yet anyway.) noted, a recent study looked at how much energy overweight women expended during a BodyPump class versus a typical strength training workout. According to the study’s results, both groups burned about the same amount of calories. Bummer, dude.
If you’re just hitting a HIIT for the first time, maybe start with just one workout a week to see how you feel. As your body adapts, you can adjust the workout length or the number of days you do a HIIT.
But if at any point your workouts or sleep or mental capacity or general well-being start to suffer, you should probably back off the intensity, length of workout, or number of days you’re HIITing it so hard.
What’s your favorite way to get in a good, solid HIIT? HIIT us up (OK, we’re done now. We promise.) in the comments!