HIIT, or high intensity interval training seems to be a relatively new buzzword in the fitness world, but, SURPRISE…it’s not!
If you’re a runner you’ve probably heard of Fartlek training. If you’re not a runner, no I didn’t just curse at you in a foreign language. It means “speed play” in Swedish. Basically, a version of interval training developed in the 1930s. This is not a new concept. So, should you stop doing long, slow cardio and start doing intervals? Yes…sort of.
Steady state cardio has its place and is valuable in any fitness plan but adding a HIIT workout to your weekly routine can benefit you in a lot of ways.
- HIIT can be modified for basically any fitness level from people literally just starting out all the way to pro athletes. There is no ONE way to do HIIT so make it fit your abilities and needs.
- It can be done in any mode too. You can create a HIIT workout for walking, running, cycling, the elliptical , the rower, a step bench…I can keep going but you get the point. You can include body weight strength exercises for a slightly different but still beneficial HIIT workout.
- HIIT workouts produce rapid improvements in fitness in a shorter amount of time than a steady cardio workout.
- Interval training promotes appetite control and blood sugar regulation. It improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular fitness and body weight.
If you haven’t done interval training yet, ease into it with one HIIT workout a week to start. The very simplest form of a HIIT workout would be something like this:
While on a run, start at a moderate pace for 5-10 minutes. Then using landmarks such as lampposts, street signs or driveways, sprint to a specific landmark then slow back to your moderate pace. After a couple minutes or another landmark, sprint again. Do this for 20-30 minutes and then a short cooldown. Super simple…super effective.
If you prefer a more specific plan you can time your intervals to be precise. Start with a 1:3 or 1:2 interval and gradually shorten your rest intervals over time.
Warm-up 10 minutes
Sprint 30 seconds
Moderate pace 90 seconds
Repeat for 20-30 minutes
Cool-down 5-10 minutes
Again, super simple…super effective. A HIIT workout isn’t complicated so add one to your workout plan this week. Let me know how it goes in the comments.