HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training CAN and WILL add an intensive metabolic element to your workouts that you may not have experienced yet. Check out these 3 lessons that will help define HIIT and what it means to you and your workout.

What is HIIT Training?

High Intensity Interval Training can be better understood when broken down into two fundamental parts: High Intensity & Interval Training. In the first part of the 4 letter acronym “HI” (High Intensity), you are going strong and giving everything you’ve got, and by strong, I mean that you are trying to reach your v02 Max (highest amount of oxygen consumed by your body during exercise). Next, the Interval Training (IT) part introduces the alternating structure between high and lower intensity periods. Together, HIIT gives you a form of interval training that pushes your body to your highest anaerobic point, switches to a recovery rest period, and then whips right back into an all-out effort.

Who uses It? 

Short answer: Anyone. And with all of the benefits that are associated with it, it’s no wonder. Stephen Boutcher, of University of South Wales, mentions that HIIT increases your metabolism and burns more fat/calories than many other forms of conventional exercise - in particular the "after burn" effect, increasing the production of growth hormones and calories burned in the hours after your workouts - see this article. While we all want to burn more calories and look great, HIIT Training is also a form of functional training for athletes who participate in a sport where their bodies experience high intensity bursts of activities. This applies to many sports including Basketball, Football, and Baseball. HIIT will also help the endurance athlete by giving them a higher top output level and more energy reserves for endurance sports.

How does it work?

The most basic plan of HIIT Training is a simple work to rest ratio - 30 second work to 90 second rest. Though HIIT is often associated with sprinting and running, it is not limited to those 2 activities. HIIT can be a great compliment for weight lifting and body building programs because of the increase in growth hormone production HIIT provides. HIIT works best when the workouts are short and sweet. Too much HIIT has the capability to be extremely taxing on the body. Make sure to factor in enough recovery between your HIIT workouts (and other training) so that you can produce the best results. You can increase your intensity as your body adapts (as HIIT Training will increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance).

Whether you perform only one or two or three HIIT sessions a week, HIIT Training is a way to spice up your routine and get better results.