If you’re like me, you quickly get bored doing the same thing over and over. As much as I love running, I get bored running the same routes again and again. I get bored doing the same workouts again and again. This is one of the reasons why I have loved CrossFit, every day is different! If you’re looking to change things up, or you just need to add something to your training, it may be time to add in HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.
HIIT isn’t as scary as it may seem at first. Basically, if you’re doing a HIIT workout, you’re alternating between intervals of hard/fast and moderate exercise. There are several methods of this type of training. If you’re interested, the Wikipedia page on HIIT is a pretty interesting read that gives some more details about these methods! (A couple links are at the end of this post). I’ve discussed Tabata in a post, and this is probably my favorite method.
With a Tabata, you alternate between 20 seconds of high-intensity work with a 10 second break. You do this for 8 rounds, which is 4 minutes total.
Other methods use different times, but the principle is the pretty basic to grasp. You go hard for a short period of time, less than 2 minutes, and then go easy or rest for a short periods of time. Sometimes when I run, I’ll do a 1:1 minute interval run: I’ll run hard for a minute (not a full out sprint, but maybe 80% of my full speed) and then do an easy jog for a minute. I end up finishing my run in about the same time I do when I just do a normal run at a constant speed, but I feel like I ran about a mile farther, because I worked harder.
If I’m doing a HIIT workout at home, I’ll alternate things like pushups and squats, planks and lunges. I try to work the major areas of my body: Arms, legs, and core.
This was just a quick blurb about the benefits. The link I have provided at the bottom give more detailed information. Like I said, it’s pretty interesting stuff to read about. I love learning how different exercises benefit different parts of my body.
A quick word of caution… because HIIT does put some stress on your heart, lungs, and your body in general, if you’re new to working out, coming off an injury, or obese, you want to be careful. Start out slow, and only go for a short period of time. As you become more fit, you can build up. But, that’s the beauty of HIIT, it’s so easy to customize! Can you only do 2 push ups from your knees in a 20 second period? That’s fine! Do what you can! Soon, you’ll get 3, then 4, and so on. Can’t run, but want to build up to it? Start off with alternating walking speeds. Then, slowly jog maybe 10 seconds and walk 50. A week or so later, jog 20 seconds, walk 40, and so on. I’m not a trainer, so I can only give vague, general ideas of what to do.
If I was really on top of things, I would personally do a HIIT workout 2 or 3 times a week, but that’s because it aligns with my goals. You probably don’t need to do it more than that a week, but again, I’m not a trainer, so I wouldn’t know for sure. Just try it and see what you think!