High Intensity Interval Training or abbreviated as “HIIT” training is becoming very popular in the fitness arena. It is a very vigorous form of exercise which alternates with short breaks or rest periods. HIIT workouts are very demanding and require high levels of endurance. Before starting this form your exercise you should get an assessment from your health provider or physician. Persons who have certain health problems should not try out a HIIT routine.
Understanding the essentials of a HIIT routine
To begin a HIIT routine, it is important to focus on the task at hand. Prepare yourself for a hard workout session by setting your goal. Since HIIT training involves alternative periods of intensity ranging from low to high, it is important to know how far can you go. In doing so, set your goal low the first time you try to increase the intensity when you know how your body reacts. If you have a heart rate monitor it will be easier to determine your target heart rate if you prefer to use the zone list below. HIIT routine involves 3 important zones; warm up zone, recovery zone and interval zone. You need to target your intensity using these three zones:
Warm up zone – 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Recovery zone – 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Interval zone – 86 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Step 1. Determine your maximum heart rate using the formula: 220 minus age. If you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 180 (220-40).
Step 2. Using your maximum heart rate, determine your target zones on the percentage indicated above. If your maximum heart rate is 180, your warm up zone should not set below 117 (180 multiplied by 65%); your recovery zone should be between 144 (180 x 80%) to153 (180x 85%) and your interval ratio shall range between 154.8 (180 x 86%) to 162 (180 x 90%).
Invest in cardio machines and other gadgets. Decide whether you are going to have your HIIT exercise at your own home or in a gym. The advantage of using the gym is that you have really good equipment and some machines probably have heart rate monitors built-in so that you don’t have to invest in a heart rate monitor yourself. I prefer working out at home because of the time efficiency. If you have a treadmill or stationary bike, you can use them. Alternatively, you can do some extensive outdoor exercise like running, jogging, sprints and such. You can get some inspiration from my vacation exercise routine if you’d like.
How to succeed?
To succeed with this type of workout you need to be stubborn and really push your limits. If you want to begin with this workout, follow these two basic guidelines, START SIMPLE and PUSH HARD.
Start simple by knowing your limits. Choose an activity that fits you. If you have problems with your knees, perhaps running is out of the question. Try cycling or any other machine that is good for you!
Pushing hard means reaching to a level where your sweat really drips from your body and you think that you can’t go on any further. Do not save your energy for the next interval, do your 90 % maximum as though the next seconds will be impossible for you to get back (which is actually the case, they won’t come back).
As a final note, I should remind you to drink water. When I do a HIIT workout, I drink at least 2 liters of water. Maybe that is too much but do keep hydrated during the workout.
If you really want to make sure you burn fat, you have to balance this with a good diet so that you don’t use the “wrong” type of energy when working out. You want to burn fat. To make sure this happens the best time of the day to work out is in the morning before breakfast. When you’re in a fasted state you make sure you burn off fat when you work out. Skip breakfast for another hour or two after the workout to make sure the after-burning effect. This isn’t necessary though, just a little tip for boosting fat loss if you feel like trying. Check out the HIIT workout video below.