High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called burst training, is one of the most effective forms of exercise for improving your overall health and body composition. HIIT is a super efficient, metabolism-boosting, fat-burning workout that’s perfect for people of all fitness levels and time constraints. You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment to do HIIT. You can do HIIT at home, at the office or even in a hotel room. Simply choose the exercises, interval length and workout duration that meets your needs. Now you can really make your cardio count without spending hours on the “dreadmill.”
HIIT Formula: short bursts of high-intensity exercise + rest, then repeat for 4-20 minutes. The goal is to get your heart rate up quickly to work your heart muscle and increase the flow of oxygen throughout the body.
- Increases energy
- Boosts weight loss and reduces body fat.
- Supports and preserves lean muscle mass
- Balances hormones and increases insulin sensitivity (greater fat burning and reduced inflammation)
- Supports and resets the nervous system*
- Improves quality of sleep
- Reduces signs of aging
- Benefits heart health
- Helps you live longer
*Many of us are stuck in a “fight-or-flight” response that creates hormone imbalances and results in endless health problems. Doing 4 minute HIIT sessions 2-3 times a day can help get the body back in balance.
The best time to perform HIIT is in the morning, preferably after caffeine and before breakfast. You don’t want to do HIIT before drinking caffeine, right after a meal or before bedtime.
As long as you have good form, it doesn’t matter what exercise you choose for your intervals. Example exercises include jumping jacks, high knees, squats, lunges, push ups, sprinting, cycling/biking, rowing, jump roping, mountain climbers, burpees, etc. With endless variations, you’ll never get bored!
Begin with 30/30 intervals. This means you give 100 percent effort exercising for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. As your fitness level improves you can vary your interval length to fit your desired intensity. In order of easiest to hardest exercise/rest interval length: 30/30, 60/60, 60/30, 40/20, and 20/10 second intervals. Use an interval timer app on your phone to adjust the interval length and workout duration, add music, and track your progress.
Start with a 4-minute workout and work your way up to 12-20 minutes 3-6 times a week. You should feel like you’re out of breath doing the intervals. If you choose the right length of time, you’ll feel strong, energized and calm. If you go for too long, you’ll feel weak, fatigued and stressed.
12 minutes HIIT before breakfast
6 minutes HIIT mid-morning and mid-afternoon
4 minutes HIIT before breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Beginner: 4 minutes of jumping jacks with 30/30 second exercise/rest intervals
Intermediate: 10 minutes of alternating squats and high knees with 60/30 second exercise/rest intervals
Advance: 12 minutes of burpees with 40/20 second exercise/rest intervals
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.