This step-by-step( literally) High Intensity Interval Training( HIIT) guidebook is probably very good one in the galaxy.
My justification for such a bold assert? We have dinosaurs and Muppets in ours! Plus lots of terrible puns.
In this guide, we’re gonna cover 😛 TAGEND
What is interval training? What is HIIT ? What are the benefits of HIIT? Why should you do interval training ? What’s an example of interval training? How to do interval running . How do HIIT workouts run?( More HIIT cardio to choose from ) What are the best HIIT workouts?( Two other forms of interval training ) Is HIIT good for losing weight? Is interval educate good for losing weight ? Getting started with interval training . Mistakes to avoid when doing HIIT . HIIT timer recommendations . Our interval training workout recommendation .
If you’re a busy person, you don’t need to be spending hours a day on a treadmill or out jogging around your neighborhood to lose weight. In fact, those hours of running could actually cause a litany of health issues if you don’t have great sort!
We’ll talk all about it in only a moment.
Before we do, I imagine you’re reading this article because you are insanely busy and don’t have much time to work out.
You’re not alone. We have busy mothers, people who travel frequently for work, and others who just don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to exert.
This is why we build custom workout programs for customers in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. Your Nerd Fitness Coach will get to know you, your goals, and your lifestyle, and then develop a workout plan that fits YOU.
Whether you do intervals at home, hit the hotel gym on the road, or anything in between – your NF Coach will create a routine that adjusts month to month based on your schedule and your progress.
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High Intensity Interval Training is following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run/ swim/ bike/ row.
Any cardio, as long as you’re able to vary your speed easily, can be a form of HIIT.
Imagine jogging lightly for three minutes, then pushing yourself hard for a minute by sprinting, and then repeating this cycle 4 more times( usually around 20 total minutes ). That’s HIIT.
So what’s the bargain? Why is HIIT so hot in the streets right now?
In 2018, HIIT was ranked the number one fitness trend by American College of Athletics Medicine.[ 1 ] This stimulates sense to me, because everybody is busy and overwhelmed, so they’re looking for fast results in a minimum sum of time
Which brings us to intense, short workouts that hopefully create the results we’re all after.
( Notice the word “hopefully” there- but I’ll get to that shortly .)
You may be asking, “Steve, just how short and intense are we talking about here? Also your new haircut appears spiffy.”
Thanks! Let’s explore the pros and cons of intervals!
Dr. Izumi Tabata, from Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports, was obsessed with interval train. The doctor sought to see exactly what kind of gains were obtained from short, intense, periods of exercise. So he experimented on some Olympic athletes who were hanging around his institute.
The results were fascinating: compared to regular cardio, HIIT had a greater impact on improving both 😛 TAGEND
Aerobic increases( endurance) Anaerobic increases( power)
“Steve, you’re losing me! What’s that mean? ”
Let’s imagine you are trying to increase how long you can run. And you also want to increase how hard you can go.
What would you do to improve?
Most people would answer with “try to run more.” You know, like jogging around the block. They’d start doing this a few times a week to improve their overall running capability.
Not a bad response, but there’s a better answer:
As Tabata demonstrated, the best way to increase aerobic and anaerobic capability would be to focus instead on bouts of intense attempt with sprinting followed by short periods of rest. A HIIT exercise, in other words. The intensity required to do such a thing helps construct both endurance and power at the same time.
Plus, it takes less time! The median interval training workout is 20 minutes or less. Tabata was able to demonstrate improvements in his athletes in just four minutes. Incredible.
What’s happening here?
Your heart is a muscle. Intense interval training challenges it by forcing it outside of its convenience zone.
This is a good thing.
If you keep your heart beating at a constant rate, never expanding it outside of its convenience zone, it will never grow stronger. This is not good.
That’s why I support Nasim Taleb’s concept of “antifragility”- by introducing chaos and pushing your muscles outside of their comfort zone, they must accommodated and grow more resilient in order to survive!
In other terms: progressive overload- the same concept behind building strength.
Since Tabata’s 1996 survey, many other trials have shown the benefits of interval training. Such as 😛 TAGEND
Weight loss. A study in the Journal of Obesity received participants were able to lose more body fat following a HIIT program compared against regular cardio.[ 3 ] This stimulates sense, because other studies indicate high intensity interval training burns more calories than a “steady state” workout.[ 4 ] Revving up your effort involves more out of you, including calories. If you’re interested in HIIT for weight loss, you might be on the right track. However, I should note that a meta-study( a review of multiple analyzes) procured no real change in fat loss between HIIT and steady-state cardio.[ 5 ] We’ll talk about this, and potential impacts of diet for weight loss later. Lower blood sugar. Managing blood sugar is really important for health, and not just for diabetics. Those trying to lose fat should be aware of their blood sugar and coinciding insulin levels. The good news for our current discussion? HIIT has been shown to help lower and manage blood sugar levels.[ 6 ] Heart health. Touching on the “antifragile” topic again, HIIT has been shown to help with overall cardiovascular health the same way traditional endurance training does, but at a fraction of the time( almost half ). [ 7 ]
Sold? Me too. Let’s chat about how to actually do some interval educate.
The key to HIIT is being able to go from “easy” to “difficult” All kinds of different workouts can get you there. We can group all workouts into aerobic, bodyweight and resistance.
HIIT is generally associated with running( aerobic ), so we’ll devote this section to merely that.
However, before we get into running( or any kind of HIIT workout ), we need to talk about warming up.
To help prevent injury in any HIIT exercising, warm-up first. It can be as simple as doing some jumping jacks and air punches/ kicks. These few minutes will loosen up your muscles, priming them for the intensity we are about to bring.
Okay, back to running.
Probably the easiest way to experiment with HIIT would be to run.
Here’s how to start with a basic HIIT operating workout ::
Go to a park in your neighborhood. Warm yourself up with some light jogging, high knees and mobility- leg sways, arm swings, etc ., Run at a brisk pace for 30 seconds. Need to slow down on the way? No worries. Jog or stroll at a slow pace for 2 minutes. After your rest, rev up the intensity again. Shoot for another 30 second jog if possible. Continue until you get tired or after about ten “push/ rest” intervals.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you get better at this, so don’t get disheartened if you find yourself stopping a lot. When beginning, don’t even worry about a timer. Only to be considered switching intensity.
Also, “running” or “jogging” is subjective. Whatever walking fast means to you is great. Do that for your periods of intensity.
It should be noted, that the entire “Couch to 5K” concept remainders on interval develop through operating. It’s all broken down into “walking, ” “jogging” and “running.” If you’re curious, check out our in-depth review of the program here. If want to start interval training, “Couch to 5K” could be a good way to do it.
Are you more of an indoor person?
Consider a treadmill, where it actually defines intervals for you based on your desired difficulty. We’ll be talking about machines a lot more in the next section, but a treadmill is all you need to do a HIIT workout. Experiment with the speed and incline to find a define that you would consider “intense.” Many machines is also available programed to flip between this and an “easy” setting. And you know what that entails … boom! It’s built for HIIT
There are a lot of different aerobic exercises for HIIT cardio.
For example, you could jump on a bike.
Biking for HIIT is much like operating, but with wheels( duh ). Try peddling as hard as you can. Might be difficult to do on an actual street, so a stationary bike would be great for HIIT. Every spin class is based on this idea. Check out SoulCycle, Flywheel, or even your local gym for spin class opportunities. They’re popular for a reason, and you can make a friend or two!
Another important point on bikes: when scientists do research on HIIT, they generally use stationary bikes because of safety and ease of observation and measuring energy output. You probably won’t trip and fall on a stationary bike , no matter how fast you are pedaling. If you’re antsy about doing a HIIT workout because of the potential for injury, the motorcycle might be the way to go.
Don’t have access to a bike?
Here are some more examples of interval educate 😛 TAGEND
Elliptical. If it has a dial for resistance, it can be used for interval training. That’s the name of the game here with the elliptical. For a couple minutes, go on low resistance( 0-2 level ). Then crank up the resistance for one minute( up to 8-10 ). Repeat this process for 12 and a half times, which will give you a 20 minute workout( the “half” allows you to stop after a low resistance interval ). Everyone’s different, and this includes ellipticals, so adjust as needed. Stair Climber. The dial again will help us here. Much like the elliptical, alternating between periods of low intensity for two minutes, then one minute for high intensity. The difference with the climber is the dial will control the speed of the stairs. Be careful. Rowing machine. We’ll follow the same strategy here. Start with a two minute warm up. On minute three however, row like you’re being chased by the Kraken for a full 60 seconds. Then catch your breath. The rowing machine might be hard to do for a full twenty minutes, since it’s a lot of upper body. Shoot for ten minutes at first. Jumping rope. Jumping rope is a full body exercising. Your leg muscles work to jump, your core engages to keep balance, and your arms work to rotate the rope. Also, it’s fun. There’s no dial here, your own body controls the pace of the leap. Follow the same two minute ease, one minute intense as above. Jump rope can also be done with friends!
So far we’ve simply been talking about aerobic exerts. Let’s cover our other categories, of bodyweight and resistance.
Let’s chat about some alternatives to HIIT cardio, because I has previously insure the emails coming in 😛 TAGEND
“Steve, this all sounds great. But I hate running! ”
Confession: So do I. So I don’t genuinely run.
Here are some bodyweight instances to get going on HIIT 😛 TAGEND
Burpees. Stand up, then squat down, kick your legs out, do a push-up, bring your legs back in, and explode up into a jump. Try to do 20 repetitions, then rest for two minutes. Repeat this a few times, for 15 minutes. Here’s exactly how to do a burpee:
Push-ups. For 20 seconds, do as many push-ups as possible. Rest. Then do it again. If you’re worried about proper form, check out our full article here. I will mention that I want you to think of your body as a straight line. Focus on tightening this line throughout the whole movement. As demonstrated here:
Pull-ups. Same idea as above, do pull-ups for 20 seconds, then rest. If you can’t do a pull-up, we got you covered in this article right over here. Want a video of some nerds strolling you through it?
Okay, that’s some bodyweight exerts. Let’s now chat some resistance instances for HIIT 😛 TAGEND
Kettlebell swinging. For ten minutes, do 20 kettlebell swings on every minute. This will be intense, and worthy of congratulations when you’re done. Check out our article for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about kettlebells here. Battle ropes. If your gym has battle ropes, they’ll be a great tool for HIIT. For intensity, the amount of slack in the rope determines the load. The more slack on the rope the tougher, and more intense, the workout. Also, don’t get stuck in merely up and down movements. Variation will target different muscles. Weightlifting. This would basically be lifting heavy with fewer reps. More weight equals most intense. The critical piece will be moving from one exercise to another, for example the bench press to the lat bar: we call this circuit training! Might be tricky if you use a public gym and it’s busy, meaning you’ll have to wait your turn. If you can, run early. Beat the rushed.
We’ve now encompassed aerobic, bodyweight and resistance forms of HIIT workouts. Let’s think outside the box though. We can get cray with interval develop.
Basketball, tennis, football, and frisbee are AMAZING styles of exercise that use interval training( it’s all start and stop !). Run here, catch this and wait for the next round to start. That’s what we’re looking for in a HIIT workout.
So find a buddy and go play!
You can also do circuit train as a kind of HIIT. Circuit training is going through a sequence of exerts, or stations, back to back. Push-ups to pull-ups, back to push-ups, merely resting briefly from one workout to another. This training would be perfect to mix it into a HIIT workout, since you can design your circuit to be very intense.
Check out our post for 15 routines to choose from. Plus, there’s a Batman workout hidden in there. You’re welcome.
If you simply want a novice circuit to get started with, you can check one out right here. Plus you can download a free worksheet to track your progress with this circuit when you join the Rebellion below 😛 TAGEND
Grab Your Beginner Bodyweight Routine Worksheet. No Gym Required!
Complete this workout at home , no equipment involved
Avoid the common missteps everybody stimulates when doing bodyweight workouts
Learn how to finally get your first pull-up
I identify as a:
My guess is that you’re reading this article because you’re trying to get the most efficient “bang for your buck” when it comes to getting in shape.
And HIIT is a great form of workout and COULD help with weight loss. I will, however, lower some of these outlandish claims that exist in the media. For example, Time magazine calls HIIT “miraculous” in one article. [8 ] That’s a little much, even for me, who writes for a living on why you should work out and likes use exaggeration for effect.
Seriously, I’m better at it than ANYBODY ON THE PLANET.
Ahem. Cardio, strength train, and HIIT all have benefits. HIIT deserves praise, but exercise in general deserves praise. As we discussed in our “Cardio vs HIIT vs Weights” post, all three forms of training have their place, and very good one for you is the one you actually do.
And strength training. Always strength training.
So to answer your question, is HIIT the secret and merely weapon for weight loss? Nah, it’s just great exercise. And exert is important.
However, I will mention an important point: If you wanna lose body fat, how you eat will be responsible for 80% of your success or failure.
One of the Rules of the NF Rebellion is that “you can’t outrun your fork.”
This means that I don’t care how many intervals you do, it’s not gonna help you lose weight if you don’t also fix your nutrition. You can read our Beginner’s Guide to Nutrition if you want more information.
If you want to download our free 10 -level Nutrition Guide to help you fix your diet starting today, you can do so by signing up in the box below 😛 TAGEND Download our free weight loss guideTHE NERD FITNESS DIET: 10 Levels to Change Your Life
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I identify as a:
When it’s time to advance your high intensity interval training, think about the following 😛 TAGEND
Frequency. This would be the number of intervals in your workout. Intensity. How hard are you going in each interval. Time. How long are your intervals, resting periods, etc.
Maybe you start out doing three intervals of intense go. Once it becomes routine, bring it up to four intervals.
Maybe you crank the resistance on your stationary bike to “8” during your intense interval. When it becomes normal, bring it up to “1 0. ”
Maybe you do pull-ups for 20 seconds. When you’ve got a good handle on that, is striving for 30 seconds.
This mindset will keep you advancing in interval training.
What to progress in any category? Consistency is the name of the game. Even simply doing a HIIT workout once a week will help you progress in all three categories.
There’s a lot to consider when embarking on a HIIT practice. No matter which routine you end up starting with, make sure you think about the following table 😛 TAGEND
Ease into it. Despite the “intense, ” go ahead and start slow. As the saying runs, “you must walk before you can run.” The significance is building a HIIT practice. If you need to go “less intense” before progressing to “intense, ” that’s fine. It’ll help build your aerobic abilities( endurance ), which will be important when working on intensity. Keep proper kind. Doing your movements correctly will help prevent injury. This is even more important in your later intervals, where you may be exhausted and tired. If you find yourself violating sort, go ahead and slow down. Intense isn’t worth an injury. Get rest. Our bodies actually build muscle while we are resting. So take some “off days” from your HIIT practice. Want to stay active on these days? Go for a walk!
Take it easy, focus on your sort, and make sure to prioritize rest.
HIIT centers on doing intervals. One moment it’s intense, the next you’re onto a short remainder break.
A good way to know when it’s time to go from one sequence to the next is a timer. A loud “beep” can tell you when it’s okay to catch your breath or when you have to kick it in gear.
Here are 5 HIIT timers you can try out 😛 TAGEND
J& J Official Seven Minute Workout. This free app from Johnson& Johnson is actually really awesome. It has premade workouts you can choose form based on your fitness level, or tweak them to make it your own. Runtastic. Don’t let the name fool you, this free app is for more than only operating. You can customize for many different interval workouts, depending on what exert you go with. And the interface seems slick. Seconds. It’s free and customizable to any form of HIIT. It can also integrate with your music, which is pretty sweet. Seven. If you’re new to HIIT, Seven would be a good app for you. It’s free, plus it has illustrations for exercisings. You also get to customise your own virtual personal trainer, which may be the future of fitness. The bots are coming … Sworkit. First off, it’s a clever name( taken from “Simply Work It.”) Second, it’s free. Third, it can display your workout, goals, and calories burned. I like it.
Also, we need to talk about interval hours. Most of the apps referenced are completely customizable. For example, you can change the intense interval from 120 seconds to 90 seconds. This is critical, because it’s up to you to decide how long you can do intense vs. rest.
Generally, folks recommend one minute of intensity and then two for remainder when doing HIIT. However, this all depends on the individual, and workouts performed. Burpees are tougher to do than jumping over a rope. So feel free to make changes like 30 seconds of intensity and three minutes of remainder. Make it your own.
Whatever way you chose to do HIIT, is fine, as long as you actually do it. The benefits of HIIT kick in when going HARD for you. In other terms, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get the benefits of HIIT.[ 9 ] Your light jog down the street runs.
As we discussed, if you’re consistent, you’ll improve. So don’t stress on where you have to start. For now, download an app and to go in there.
Okay, I suppose I’ve encompassed everything. You now know about HIIT, have a bunch of workouts to choose from, and apps to help with timing! Let’s go!
Fine. Let’s power walk as our kind of HIIT!
Warm-up. For three minutes, walk at a easy pace. Intervals. Let’s do seven intervals, two minutes each. For the first 60 seconds, power stroll, like you’re trying to beat someone to the front of the line at Starbucks. For the next 60 seconds, merely walk. Repeat six more periods. Cool down. You can do some more light walking, or a little bit of stretching here would be great.
Total time: 20 minutes.
I want to stress, that you can do just about any exercising in exchange for this routine. Just minus “power walk” and add “push-ups.” It’ll still be a great HIIT workout.
“But Steve, that’s still multiple choice! ”
Right, right … sorry. Stick to power walking for now.
How to Start Interval Training now
Let’s shock your heart today!
No jumper cables, let’s do interval training.
If you got through this whole article, you need to actually try it. That’s the point.
Do our power strolling routine above. It’s a great place to start. Don’t stress if it seems too simple. Remember, our goal at this stage is convenience. We can work on “whoa, that was intense” later.
Keep it up and your heart rate will be roaring before you know it. If you’d instead sprint, let’s do it! There’s a zillion ways to do HIIT. Just don’t let the options paralyze you. Pick one, anyone, and get to it.
Interval training, in any form, is a solid fitness choice and a great practice to have in the workout arsenal.
PS: If you’re somebody that wants an expert to guide them through the training process, I hear ya( I have a fitness coach myself who programs my workouts !).
That’s why we built two options for people 😛 TAGEND
1) If you are somebody that wants to know they are following a program that is tailor-made for their life and situation and aims, check out our popular 1-on-1 coaching program. You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself and program your workouts and nutrition for you.
2) Good at following instructions and want a blueprint to follow? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy .
The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight develop, a benchmark exam to ascertain your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every motion, boss combats so you know when you to level up your routine, meal plans, a questing system, and supportive community.
All photo credits can be found in this footnote.[ 10 ]
Footnotes( returns to text)
Check out that article from ACSP here. Read Tabata’s original study here. Read that analyze from the Journal of Obesity here. Read that examine on HIIT and calories burned here. Check out that meta-study right here. Check out the one such survey on HIIT and insulin resistance here. Another can be read right here. Check out the comparing of HIIT and regular cardio on heart health here. Said article. This study demonstrated the benefits of HIIT on’ recreational active’ participates, showing that the Tabata principles work on regular folks too , not just Olympic athletes. Photo: Biking on a Rail, Countryside Ride, Plundeing in Koln, Running, Stairs, Rowing, Mermaid, Stranded, Troll, Stopwatch, Trooper, Jump
Read more: nerdfitness.com