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All About High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

What is HIIT?

HIIT is when you alternate between high and low intensity exercises. You could also have a short rest period between high intensity exercises. For example, you could sprint for 10-20 seconds, rest for 1 minute, and repeat 5 times. Know that when doing HIIT, it is more difficult to do than running at a constant pace. But it is a great way to train.

Why is HIIT Important?

It is impossible to maintain maximum intensity exercises for very long. You know that you cannot run very fast for a long time. But you can run a slower pace longer. When you do HIIT with your workout plan:

  • You can do intense activities longer
  • You can maintain fat loss and muscle mass
  • You can recover faster
  • Your heart gets stronger
  • Improve your ability to do other intense physical activities
  • …and much more!

What You Should Know

It is very important to know that you should not do HIIT workouts right away. If you have a health condition (diabetes, obese, high blood pressure, history of heart problems), talk to your doctor before starting. The increased intensity can cause more wear and tear in your body. Make sure to do the following before starting any HIIT workouts:

  • Be able to exercise 3-5 times/week for 20-60 minutes each time
  • Always warm up before and cool down after
  • Take time to recover from your HIIT workouts (at least 2-3 days, or how you feel)
  • Do not push yourself if you are already sore
  • Start slowly and build your endurance and ability
  • Modify movements if they are too hard
  • If you ever feel difficulty breathing or chest pains during an HIIT workout, start cooling down (DO NOT STOP IMMEDIATELY)

Summary and Recommendations

HIIT is very intense and your body needs a longer recovery period. This is not something you should do every day. Start with one HIIT workout per week. Add another HIIT workout day only if you feel ready. Make sure to spread out the workouts in the week. Remember to adjust your workout plan if it is too hard. Make sure to be safe in every exercise you do. To start off your search for the right HIIT workout, try the one below:

  • Tabata Workout
    • 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest for each exercise
    • Rest for 1 minute between sets
    • Repeat 9 times: Jumping Jacks, Walking Lunges, Push-Ups, Sit-Ups
    • If you need to make the rest periods longer, go for it!

Resources

 

Special Thanks:
Derek Chang graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. Go Utes! He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He aspires to become a physician-entrepreneur to find and create new ways of improving overall patient health. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, reading books, meeting new people, and learning anything new.

 

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