What Is High Intensity Interval Training Or HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training is usually compared to Low Intensity Steady-State cardio (LISS) and is very similar in some ways, but they are certainly not the same. You may be familiar with HIIT being an incredible time-efficient and effective way to boost your metabolism, to lose weight, combined with great cardio and appropriate nutrition all in a short amount of time. The aim of HIIT is to replicate the activity of the hunter-gatherer tribes, the stop-start-stop pattern of movement as they hunted for food and travelled long distances both freely and carrying the weight of their catch on their return. (This is what they did in those times, however the diet I recommend for optimum health is a plant based alkaline diet which I discuss in another blog and is important to apply in your life.)

HIIT is different to regular cardio but you can achieve more productive results from it once you apply it to your routine. Regular cardio is typically known as LISS. LISS cardio is equivalent to getting on the treadmill, using the rowing machine or the elliptical trainer and working at a constant pace for a longer period of time, for example, 30 to 45 minutes up to an hour and is great for stamina/endurance. It’s not full-on training but it’s undertaken at a good but steady pace if you don’t want to be too out of breath and if you have more available time. It’s less pressure on the body and you should still be able to maintain a normal conversation using any cardio machine whilst still remaining a very effective training method. Both are beneficial depending on what routine you are looking for and what you want to achieve. They can be good for the improvement of cardiovascular fitness, VO2 increase and fat burning and it’s best to have both types of training in your life.

The trouble is these days, everyone feels they need more hours in the day to do the things they need to do, and if they are struggling with time then HIIT would probably be the better option as tremendous results can be achieved in just 20 to 30 minutes, but it is a more of a full-on programme from a physical output point of view. So, with HIIT as the workout progresses there are timed intervals; periods of low-intensity with bursts of high-intensity exercises with whichever machine is being used and this pattern is maintained throughout the session. In a LISS work-out, a constant pace is applied, for example, for about 45 minutes just cruising with no pressure or increase in intensity. There are many ways to set up work-out sessions in terms of the time, lengths of the intervals and which particular exercise. It can also even be applied to lifting weights or swimming, for example with swimming, 1 length fast, 1 length slow for 20 minutes. This can all be adapted to whatever suits the requirement and what is best for the individual once discussed with your personal instructor that I will recommend at the end of this blog.

An example of a HIIT routine could be running for a 1-minute-high intensity burst followed by a 2 minutes low intensity (jog or walk) on a treadmill. That is a 3-minute interval or 1 round and doing 5 sets would amount to a 15-minute work-out routine. You could also double the intervals, so 2-minutes run, 4-minute jog/walk and then you’ve got a 30-minute work-out. It all really depends on what your starting point and capabilities are and then you can work your way up from there.

Another method is to shorten the burst intervals doing a 15-seconds all out as hard as possible, then 45-seconds in recovery taking it easy, so instead of working on a 3 minute cycle, this is a 1 minute cycle. This is good for sprints or burpees as a really high intensity exercise. Another method is a 30 seconds workout and a 30 seconds rest over 24 minutes with 4 rounds of 6 exercises over a 4-week cycle, increasing the work by 5/10 seconds a week until the final week’s programme is 50 seconds work with 10 seconds rest. This is an example of a plan that can be constructed with the help of an instructor that can guide you throughout your sessions.

There are many types of cardiovascular work-out equipment, however if you are not going to the gym, equipment can be very expensive and can take up a lot of space in your home. This can be the case for many people but the amazing thing about a HIIT work-out is that you can still create work-outs without the use of any of the space-hogging expensive equipment by doing body weight workouts, and still getting the same beneficial results.

What bodyweight work-outs can you do?

One exercise is the tuck jump to plank tuck work-out which is a great intensive cardio move and is similar to a burpees routine. Although it’s without the push up, which some people may find difficult to begin with, so it would be easier using a knee tuck movement instead which is still beneficial. Adding the tuck jump still helps the cardiovascular exercise and is a great way to get your blood pumping.

The next exercise you could be doing is the Plyometric Jack Push Up as it’s great for an explosive upper body movement as these are very challenging. It is referred to as a jump training exercise using your muscles to produce power with strength and speed. If this movement is too challenging, then you could use a bench to begin with until you build up your strength. This is still beneficial because it offers both a lower and upper body plyometric movement and is a great way to start. This movement also allows you to use your core and again get your blood pumping for a great workout.

Another exercise that is great to use is the single leg deadlift hop. This is a super challenging balanced movement that uses the posterior chain and is great for targeting hamstrings and glutes working with body power and unilateral strength. This one requires quick movement but the benefits and results are so worth the effort. To make it easier, the exercise can be modified and the jump can be excluded, simply using a single leg deadlift to knee which can be demonstrated by an instructor. The abs also get a great workout in this routine and proven to produce great results overall.

Or you could really challenge yourself and do the plank skaters which are a lot of fun too. You will certainly know you are having a great work-out with this one! It works with many parts of the body such as shoulders, abs, quads and really gets the blood pumping, building core strength but keeping your hips still for maximum results. Again, if you prefer a bench for this work-out to begin with until you build up your strength, you can still get amazing results.

There are many other exercises you can do that are not as complex as these with your regular running on the spot, sit-ups, push ups and squat thrusts which all can be incorporated in one routine. If you really want to do the more complex exercises that I have described above, it really is important to have a one-to-one instructor to make sure your technique is correct for maximum results. Your instructor can also tweak these exercises to your level of ability to ensure constant progression and also calculate what intervals and sets are best for you with your current training level, even if it’s beginner.

Remember, using either LISS or HIIT both have their benefits depending on how much time you can devote to your sessions. HIIT can be great for you if you really want to lose weight and have less time and LISS can be great if you have more time but want to build your stamina and don’t want such an intense work-out. If you have weights, then the instructor that I recommend can also incorporate a weight-lifting routine using the HIIT or LISS training models I have described. There is no limit with these type of fitness programs.

The personal trainer that I recommend is called Elizabeth Hall and you can simply click on this link to contact her on her Facebook page – FitNation UK – Home (facebook.com)

Another thing to remember, health isn’t just about exercising or doing weights. Health, in definition, is the absence of disease combined with the feeling of physical and mental wellbeing, and fitness is how well your body performs in any given situation when required. Health in itself has many other aspects to it which I discuss on my website in various blogs. I cover a whole range that includes the mind, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health especially what we eat and drink. Please feel free to browse through my website and read the articles that include help with nutrition, mediation and fasting.

Here are a few links to purchase a Kettlebell:

Here are some links for an adjustable kettlebell so you can add and remove weights as you progress:

Here are some links for dumbells:

Here are a few links to purchase an Ab Roller Wheel:

Here are a few links to buy a flat weight bench:


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