I want to tell you about high intensity interval training (HIIT); a scientific-based workout modality, that focuses on quality, not quantity. Though the name sounds inherently intimidating, my goal is to show you how to easily modify a HIIT workout. HIIT is not new, as anaerobic fitness protocols have been used for a very long time by athletes and body builders; however, HIIT is an adapted form of anaerobic fitness suitable for various fitness levels. The HIIT workout usually consists of interval rounds of high intense physical exertion and recovery, with the intense period ranging from 5-8 minutes, and the total workout ranging from 20 to 60 minutes. High-intense exercise is defined, by the American College of Sports Medicine, as performing at 80% to 95% of a person's estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum rate at which your heart beats per minute, without over-exertion(1). I encourage you to start with just a few interval rounds, totaling a 15 minute workout and as you are ready, increase your total workout time by repeating the interval rounds, anywhere from 20-60 minutes (*interval times should be adjusted to suit total workout time). HIIT can be applied to many modalities of exercise, including aerobic, plyometrics (neuromotor tasks), and weight-training, and has been scientifically shown to improve(1):
- aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- blood pressure
- cardiovascular health
- insulin sensitivity
- cholesterol profiles
- abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
Let's talk about the ratio of physical exertion to recovery. In general, there are no specific ratio protocols you must follow to practice HIIT. Ratios can be adjusted to modify fitness levels and physical limitations. Typical ratios are as follows:
- Ratio of 1:1 = 3 minutes of intense exercise followed by 3 minutes of low intense recovery.
- Sprint Interval (specifically designed for running) = 30 seconds of intense sprinting followed by 4 to 4.5 minutes of low-intense recovery jogging.
You would repeat these proposed interval ratios until you have achieved your total workout length, ideally between 20-60 minutes.
HIIT can be high impact and can be rough on the joints. If you are interested in HIIT but need something with lower impact due to any physical limitation, you can still apply the same ratio protocols on low-impact exercise equipment, like the elliptical, with interval resistance and speed. Make sure that you always do HIIT exercises on a level surface (never concrete) that is cleared from debris. As always, consult your doctor to get a medical clearance before you start this or any other type of workout.
via fitnessblender.com, a great free resource for at-home workouts of various fitness levels.