High Intensity Interval Training

February 11, 2015

How To Have A Successful High Intensity Interval Training Workout

High intensity interval training (HIIT) . HIIT training is commonly recommended for people that don’t have a lot of time to exercise but still want to get a good workout. Essentially, it consists of a period of low intensity effort followed by a high intensity effort then back to low intensity effort. A simple web search will provide several articles and studies on the benefits of HIIT workouts. The problem is that many people don’t do it correctly.

One of the many reasons HIIT workouts are recommended is because it increases the amount of post-workout calorie burning, technically called post-exercise oxygen consumption. Some people call it the “afterburn effect” or “calorie afterburn”. Basically, this means that when a HIIT workout is completed the body will continue burning calories in an effort to restore oxygen levels in the body to a pre-workout state. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well here in a sample workout that you can try!


Step 1: Determine a length of time for your workout.

It could be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or even an hour. Know that the longer it is the more difficult it will be to reach your high intensity interval near the end. I usually do my interval workouts for lengths of time that are divisible by 5. The reason for this is because I complete a full cycle in 5 minute increments. For example, if I did a 20 minute HIIT workout then I would have 4 cycles of high intensity followed by low intensity.

Step 2: Pick your type of poison, err, exercise.

Will you be doing your interval training on a track outside, or would you rather do it on a recumbent bike? You might even want to do it on the treadmill. Whatever it is you choose be sure that it is something you like doing. I don’t like ellipticals (nothing against them, I just don’t like using them) so when it comes time to my high interval I am not going to push as hard as I could.

Step 3: Determine your low intensity pace.

Get on the treadmill (or whatever piece of equipment) and find a pace that you could comfortably maintain for an hour of continuous moving. Maybe it’s 2 mph or maybe it’s 5 mph. This is going to be your recovery speed during your low intensity interval.

Step 4: Determine your high intensity pace.

Going along with the treadmill as an example, find a speed that you could not maintain for more than a couple of minutes. You could even combine speed with incline. If you are not comfortable running on a treadmill but can walk fast just increase the incline to make it harder. This pace will be your high intensity interval. It’s going to hard. Embrace it.

Step 5: Determine the length at each interval.

In this step you need to decide how long you will stay at each interval. When starting off I recommend your low intensity interval to be four minutes and your high intensity interval is one minute. As you get in better shape you can begin to increase your high intensity time and decrease your low intensity time.

Step 6: Start your workout!

Now you have each of the components to develop a good HIIT workout. Here is an example of a 20 minute workout on the treadmill for the visual learners:


See HIIT’s aren’t too bad! Follow the guide above and you will have a successful workout in only 20 minutes!