High Intensity Interval Training

(Last Updated On: August 11, 2011)

hiitdvdWhat is High Intensity Interval Training?

HiiT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is hands down one of the best ways to burn fat without causing your body to burn your own muscle tissue. This is because HiiT utilizes a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers and this helps to build muscle during your cardio workout, not lose it. This is important because you don’t want to lose the muscles you have worked so hard to gain. HiiT is a special type of interval training that also offers the important advantage of continuing to burn fat for many hours after your workout has ended. This is not true for many other types of workouts. Some studies, such as the Laval University study, have even shown that you can burn up to nine times more fat after completing your short HiiT session when compared to a one hour steady state workout.

Usually, HiiT workouts are only 15 to 30 minutes in duration, including the warm up. All HiiT workouts follow a similar strategy of short and intense workout sessions that alternate a high intensity work interval with a lighter intensity recovery interval. The most popular work/recovery ratio is 2:1 for a HiiT workout, but this is not a hard fast rule and different ratios of work/recovery can be used in your HiiT training sessions. Your heart rate during your recovery phase for each interval should drop to between 60 and 65% of your maximum heart rate. During the work phase you should be going all out and your heart rate should be between 75 and 90% of your maximum heart rate. A simple example of a HiiT workout for runners would be to do 10 intervals where you sprint for 30 seconds and then jog for 15 seconds for each of the 10 intervals.

The Science Behind HiiT Training

Most HiiT training is based on research by Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Participants in the study increased their anaerobic capacity by an average of 28% and their VO2max by 14%. This means that HiiT training increases both your anaerobic and aerobic capacity. The Tabata Protocol, published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise in 1996 concluded that just four minutes of high intensity Tabata interval training did more to increase aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen)capacity than did an hour of steady state cardio exercise.
Though there are certainly disagreements between the proponents of high intensity interval training and steady state cardio, there is no doubt that HiiT training is one of best ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness in the least amount of time.

Who Should do HiiT Training?

HiiT training is certainly popular with athletes, but you don’t have to be an athlete to do it. HiiT workouts are very intense, but because the intensity level is so high the exercises are usually very basic and fairly simple to learn. Still, HiiT training is not for everyone and you should be in fairly good shape before attempting a HiiT workout and not have any medical issues. If this is not the case you should consult a medical professional before attempting any HiiT program.

Benefits of HiiT Training

1. The anaerobic energy system in your body is great for intense short duration exercises like sprinting and plyometrics that you find in all HiiT workouts. On the other hand, your aerobic energy system is used for activities like jogging and walking and any activity where energy is needed for an extended amount of time. Since anaerobic energy is not sufficient to power your body through an entire HiiT workout your body is also forced to use the aerobic energy system too. This means that a HiiT workout utilizes and will improve both the anaerobic and aerobic systems in your body. The reverse is not true of a steady state cardio workout. A steady state cardio workout will only improve the aerobic system and not your anaerobic system.

2. HIIT workouts are believed to limit muscle loss that can occur with longer duration steady state cardio workouts. Your goal in weight loss is to lose fat, not burn muscle.

3. One of the biggest benefits of HiiT training is something called “EPOC” (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This fancy term simply refers to the extra calories expended (above resting values) after a workout session has been completed. Studies have shown that the greater the intensity of the workout the greater the increase in EPOC. Since HiiT workouts are extremely intense workouts your EPOC will be much higher than if you had done a steady state workout. This means while you’re relaxing in your family room watching TV after completing your HiiT training session you will continue to reap the benefits of your workout because your body will continue to burn oxygen, calories and fat and a higher rate for many hours.

4. HiiT workouts are very time efficient and shorter than most steady state workouts. One of the biggest requests we see made in our forums is for shorter workouts. Today’s hectic schedules make it very difficult to find the time to consistently workout. Since HiiT workouts are usually less than 30 minutes they are perfect for the person with limited time and a busy schedule.

5. HiiT training may help to prevent type-2 diabetes. It has been shown in a recent study that two weeks of HIIT can substantially improve insulin action in healthy young men.

My New HiiT DVD

Despite the benefits and popularity of HiiT training, very few videos or DVDs have been made for the home exerciser utilizing this method. I’m excited to be one of the first trainers to introduce three HiiT training workouts on DVD for the home exerciser. HiiT has already become one of our best selling DVDs and is currently Collage Videos 5th best selling DVD. To watch video clips of my new HiiT DVD and to learn more – Click Here

8 thoughts on “High Intensity Interval Training

  1. The new Hiit workout dvd is awesome!! I’m always trying to find a challenging workout that is hard enough and this one is great, I love it! There are some days when I don’t have enough time to do a full hour workout and this is nice to have in my library of dvds.

  2. I just picked this dvd up and did the 40/20 last night, OMG my butt is sore today, lol..
    As usual Cathe comes through with a fun, no frills but intense awesome workout.
    Way to go Cathe, I love your videos!!!!

  3. I have searched, but can’t find the High Intensity Interval training (Hiit) in the download section. Am I missing it? Thanks

  4. This workout is KICK BUTT!!! I love it! I use it on the days I weight train and it is all you need. Cathe had the best workouts ever and never disappoints!

  5. Thanks for the writeup. I definitely agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my mother so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

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