Todays training show is devoted to something I have a love hate relationship with… although I’m steadily choosing the LOVE more and more. Today let’s chat High Intensity Interval Training.
What it is. Why I believe you should include it in your ideal training week and How I structure a couple of my fav H.I.I.T. sessions.
High Intensity Interval Training is the exercise you do at an intensity so high it can only be sustained for short bursts. So you’ll have working intervals followed by rest intervals. In total your HIIT session may last as little as 4 minutes up to 20-30 minutes… although, I would argue if you can last 30 minutes then the intensity needs to be higher.
The equipment you use doesn’t matter – it’s all about the intensity. There is no specific formula – it’s your chance to work in whatever you enjoy and have access to. From weights to sprinting to skipping.
Why you should give it a go? The fat blasting results are one of the very few things readily agreed on in the land of crazy-contradicting-fat-loss-advice.
It really works.
First: It has a huge metabolic effect – like lifting heavy weights – in that it’ll elevate your fat burning not only during your session but also for an extended period of time after your session.
Second: It is not going to leave you madly hunting down your next carb-fest-over-fuel in the way that moderate intensity cardio will.
Third: It is super time effective so you really can not play the “I don’t have time” card on this one.
My current favourite routine looks like this:
After warming up, it’s 3 sets of ‘5’ minutes for a total of 15 minutes.
1A. Treadmill intervals for 20 seconds running up a steep incline and 10 seconds rest. 10 sets.
To rest you hang on to the treadmill and jump your feet to the sides. To run you hang on to the treadmill and jump you feet back on to the belt. If you’ve been with me from early Healthification days you’ll remember this was where the treadmill once miraculously jumped from 12 kilometres an hour when I jumped off to 24 KILOMETRES an hour when I jumped back on… and you’ll understand why I never trust treadmills.
Start with a working incline (I go with 9%) and a steady to working speed (I go with 10 kilometres an hour).
Now every ‘rest’ you want to increase something. So I start with increasing the speed by .5 until it’s up to 12.
Then I’ll start increasing the incline until it’s up to 12%. If I was super fit I’d just power through all 10 intervals on the speed of 12 and the incline of 12%. I’m really not there yet!
1B. 5 minutes of ‘6’ advanced burpees and ’12’ sumo in out jump squats. Pretty much that’s 3 circuits.
An advanced burpee is where you jump up into a chin up (mine is neutral grip) and then jump down, jump you feet out and into a push up. Jump your feet in and you’re back up into repetition number 2. I only need 6 reps from you.
Then jump straight into your sumo in out jump squats. Stay low and land through your heals with these jump squats that alternate between feet straight and close and feet turned out and wide.
1C. Short and sweet on the rower. I set the rower for 45 seconds on and 15 second rest and complete ‘5’ rounds for a total of 5 minutes. You need to set a tough target for yourself to hit each time. I go for 180 metres in 45 seconds.
Another old favourite is based on the stepper… though you could do it on the X-Trainer or a spin bike too.
To give you an idea the stepper I use goes up to level 25. This is a 9 minute routine, broken into ‘3’ 3 minute rounds that I do after a heavy weights session, it’s less fun after a lower body session so I tend to do it after back and chest. Crucial criteria (!) NO LEANING on the stepper, you don’t have to be hands free however leaning is zero value!
2A. Minute 1: 15 seconds at an easy level, I choose 12. 30 seconds at a medium level, I choose 16. 15 seconds at a hard level, I choose 20.
=> From here the medium interval decrease in time and the hard increases in time and in level.
Minute 2: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 15 seconds at a medium level, I choose 16. 30 seconds at a hard level, I choose 20.
Minute 3: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 45 seconds at a hard level, I choose 20.
=> By now you’re tried however you know round 2 starts off easy so it’s ok, you can keep going!
2B. Minute 4: 15 seconds at an easy level, I choose 12. 30 seconds at a medium level, I choose 18. 15 seconds at a hard level, I choose 22.
Minute 5: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 15 seconds at a medium level, I choose 18. 30 seconds at a hard level, I choose 22.
Minute 6: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 45 seconds at a hard level, I choose 22.
=> Ok, quads are burning but you’re 2/3’s of the way through so no giving up now!
2C. Minute 7: 15 seconds at an easy level, I choose 12. 30 seconds at a medium level, I choose 18. 15 seconds at a hard level, I choose 24.
Minute 8: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 15 seconds at a medium level, I choose 18. 30 seconds at a hard level, I choose 24.
Minute 9: 15 seconds at an easy level, still 12. 45 seconds at a hard level, I choose 24.
A few considerations to make interval training work for you:
1. Start and the level appropriate for you and ALSO have a slightly less daunting option available for those days when it really does feel like struggle-street.
I made this mistake for years – Yes, the idea is to work at a super high intensity – however you get zero value from the work-out you’re too scared to do!
2. Lock and load your times for interval training as you do anything else that’s important.
Its really great to throw on at the end of a heavy weights work-out – however, if you notice that you get through your weights and then repeatedly convince yourself “that’s enough for today I’ll add those intervals on next time” then you’re going to need to start with intervals instead.
3. Use a timer for both your work:rest intervals and the duration of the work-out.
Otherwise it’s way too easy to feel that muscle burn or shortness of breath and take a little break before you’re due. Your friendly timer will keep you honest.
4. 2-4 times a week is a good frequency. My ideal training week will have ‘3’ interval sessions… however I’m also happy with 2. Anything that you do only once a week is in my experience going to be tougher, so it’s preferable to just not put yourself through that.
So, how to make today actionable? It’s got to be working in some interval action right?
I’d love to hear how you go with them, or with any other awesome interval routines…you can let me know in the comments below.
That’s it for me today, big thanks to you for spending this time with me and I hope you can join me tomorrow for the Friday FAQ show where I reveal, Why I GAINED Almost 3 Kilo’s.
If you liked this you’ll also like: Choosing Your Curves: exercises to tone hips and thighs PLUS lose stubborn belly flab.
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