Livekick Team | Jan. 26, 2018

What is High Intensity Interval Training? 
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, workouts consist of alternating between bursts of high-intensity exercise and low-intensity exercise, usually with a ratio of 20 to 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 15 to 30 seconds of rest or less-intense exercise. While at first glance HIIT might not look like anything special, once you learn its benefits and fat-melting powers, you’ll definitely want to incorporate it into your workout regimen!

HIIT workouts were first developed as 10-minute routines during which you pushed yourself to your maximum cardio effort at 80-95% of your maximum heart rate. Research has now proven that HIIT sessions are more useful for the body than the typical steady-state cardio routines, since the intensity is higher and an individual is able to improve his or her aerobic and anaerobic endurance. These intense training sessions can have many different work-to-rest ratios, such as 1:1 (sprint for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds), 1:2 (sprint for 30 seconds, rest for 60 seconds), 1:3, 1:4 and so forth. The recovery periods may last equally as long as the work periods or up to five times longer. The key is to go at your maximum effort during the bouts of work.

High intensity workouts have actually been a crucial part of various training methods for a long time, given the fact that many different sports activities require quick and explosive movements. HIIT has increased massively in popularity over the past few years and many individuals are discovering how to use this type of training to help them achieve their goals. You are able to do more during your sessions because by adding more short rest periods and then returning to the effort interval, you are able to cumulatively sprint for a longer period of time. So if you performed ten 30-second sprints, you sprinted for a total of five minutes. That’s much longer than you could do in one shot. Plus, when HIIT is performed  correctly and paired with a solid nutrition plan, you can torch that stubborn belly fat, increase the size and strength of your fast-twitch muscle fibers, improve your heart health, and more.

What are the benefits of HIIT? 
First of all, HIIT helps to improve blood pressure, cardiovascular health, cholesterol profile and insulin sensitivity because muscles more rapidly use glucose for fuel to make energy. People who suffer from obesity can work on their bodies with HIIT and achieve more significant results compared to other types of training. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the workout also kicks your body's repair cycle into hyperdrive, meaning you burn more fat and calories in the following 24 hours than you do after jogging at a moderate pace for an hour, for example. Research shows that intervals can repair your metabolism by reducing inflammation, forcing the body to improve its ability to use and burn energy. This means you’ll burn fat at a faster rate, utilize energy better during workouts, and continue to burn calories long after your workout is done, a phenomenon known as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Why is HIIT training so popular?
This type of training is suitable for many individuals, from beginners to professional athletes. In our opinion, the main reason why it spiked in popularity over the past few years is because it allows an individual to both save time and see significant results. Time is key!

How many times per week can I do a HIIT workout?
Since HIIT sessions are more taxing than steady-state cardio or standard strength training sessions, it is advised to take longer recovery periods. For a beginner, we recommend performing these sessions 1-2 times a week only. As you progress, the more you can increase the intensity of your other workouts throughout the week. The most important thing is to listen to your body when you are working out in such a way that your heart rate is skyrocketing. Consult your doctor or your Livekick trainer if you’re finding that your endurance is not improving and you are unable to catch your breath during these workouts. We do not recommend performing high intensity sessions every day. 

Sample HIIT Workout:
In reality, HIIT workouts done the right way should be intense. Whether you’re doing a HIIT workout of bodyweight exercises like burpees and mountain climbers or you opt for interval sprints on a bike or treadmill, you shouldn’t be able to maintain a conversation while you’re doing them. This means you should be pushing yourself hard during every second of the “intense” or “work” phase of your HIIT workout. Think at least 75 percent of your maximum effort for those 20 to 45 seconds of work. This way, when the recovery period comes, you’re truly using each of these precious seconds to recover.

Now that you’re ready to really push yourself, let’s look at some HIIT workout examples that will blast fat fast. Keep in mind that the ratio of work to rest can always be changed. (Tip: remember to warm up before giving this sample workout a try!).

40 seconds jumping jacks, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds burpees, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds pushups, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds side plank dips, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds (other) side plank dips, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds high knees, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds forearm to push-up plank, 20 seconds rest
40 seconds jump squats, 20 seconds rest
Rest for 2 minutes and repeat!