we need to talk about HIIT training.

Greetings from Baton Rouge, LA!  Not going to lie, this traveling thing is making me feel like i’m losing entire days of my life here.  I will definitely be happy not to have to travel for about a month after this.  The plane life is not for me.  Plus, getting up to workout at 4:40 am so you don’t miss your flight isn’t my favorite past time either.

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Things that are also not really for me: tiny gym hotels.  Especially the tiny gym hotel here in Baton Rouge that smells not so faintly of cat pee and old women.

 

But, after a long day of traveling yesterday, I wanted to get my legs moving a little and parked myself on the treadmill and watched me some “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” for 3 miles.  And this morning’s workout was a combination of some ellipticalling and an arm workout.  Both workouts were done with my nose firmly plugged not really but I really wish that was the case. 

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Traveling does give me a ton of time to peruse Instagram at the airport and I’ve already finished my entire 700 plus page textbook, so it’s not all in vain.  One thing that I have been noticing pop up more and more on Instagram, blogs, facebook etc. is people posting HIIT workouts that they’ve made up that are just not HIIT workouts.  So, I’m here to set the record straight.

So what is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  Emphasis here on High Intensity.  HIIT is a type of training that focuses on working at your max capacity for a short period of time, then resting for a short amount of time, and repeating.  You are supposed to be giving as close to one hundred percent effort as possible during the high intensity bursts.  The goal here being to get your heart rate through the roof while burning as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time.

What is not HIIT?

Things that are not HIIT:

  • An ab circuit you made while lying on the floor that consists of 30 seconds of moves and 30 seconds of rest.
    • This is not HIIT because you are not working at your body’s maximum capacity.  Your heart rate is most likely not in the 80%-95% zone, so this is not correct
  • Running at a 6.0 mph pace and then switching every 30 seconds to a 6.2 mph pace on a treadmill
    • This is not HIIT unless running at 6.2 mph is your max.  The likelihood of that is small, but possible.  Otherwise, focus on finding that pace that really gets your heart pumping and where it is impossible to hold conversation and make sure you rest for the appropriate interval, that is just as important
  • Doing the interval setting on a stationary bike for 40 minutes
    • Unless you are really pushing yourself during those intervals, it’s probably not HIIT.  Make sure you’re really challenging yourself.  It should be so hard that it’s impossible to sustain for that duration of time.  It should last between 10-15 minutes.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

The benefits of HIIT are numerous.  It is said to boost metabolism, aid in fat loss, and it’s extremely efficient because of its short duration.  Personally, my favorite part of HIIT is by far the fact that it makes time fly and I feel amazingly accomplished afterwards.  Because you are pushing yourself to such an extreme, it takes your focus off of anything besides getting it done.

So how do I do it?

There are various circuit workouts that I love to use for HIIT purposes when I don’t have access to weights, but primarily I prefer to run sprints either on a treadmill or outside (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 15 minutes) or at my max pace on a stationary bike.  If you are going to do a body weight HIIT, try and focus on exercises that use large muscle groups such as Burpees, Squat Jumps, Jump Lunges etc. for maximum calorie burn.

 

-sj

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