Looking to improve your fitness program while sending your fat burning results soaring? If so, you need to consider HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training.

Few types of workouts will be as effective as this one when it comes to dramatically improving your health, fitness, and fat loss.


It’s intense – just as the name suggests. Let’s look at why this intense form of activity earn top marks on all elements of your fitness plan.

What Is HIIT?

First let’s take a bit of time to talk about what high intensity interval training is.  This form of workout is going to have you alternating periods of brief, highly intense exercise with longer, active rest periods.

Typically the ‘work’ intervals will range anywhere from 20-60 seconds in duration, with the intensity going down slightly the longer the interval is (since you can’t work as hard for 60 seconds as you can for 20 seconds).

The rest intervals are anywhere between 1-3 times the length, with the shorter work intervals requiring longer rest intervals in proportion.

So for example, if you do a 20 second work interval, you’ll need a 60 second rest interval, while if you had done a 60 second work interval, you can likely get away with a 60-120 second rest interval depending on your cardiovascular conditioning level.

This protocol is then repeated 5-10 times, making up a 15-20 minute workout.  Include a warm-up and cool-down at the start and end as well.

The Benefits

So now that you know what this workout is, what are the benefits? First, it’s going to take your fitness level sky-high. Since you’ll be pushing yourself so hard when doing those work intervals, this will lead to much better cardiovascular conditioning.

In addition to that, you’ll also experience a lower resting heart rate after doing these for quite some time, illustrating improved heart health as well.

Your circulation will improve since blood will be flowing through the body at top speeds while doing this level of intense exercise and you’ll also increase your bone strength as well if you are doing a weight baring form of cardio training.

On the fat loss front, this form of workout works for two reasons.  First, it’s highly intense, so you will burn many calories minute per minute as you do it.  The session itself therefore sparks an excellent calorie burn.

But, more than that, because it is so intense, your body will continue to burn calories for hours after it’s finished as it repairs all the damage created to the tissues due to that intense session.

This means your total daily calorie burn bumps up, which leads to more overall long-term fat loss.  You can easily burn calories faster for up to 48 hours following one of these sessions, meaning it parallels that of a weight lifting session.

Finally, since it is so good at improving cardiovascular fitness, it’s also a great training tool while using a Half Marathon Trainer for example, as it’ll make those long runs feel that much easier.

The Drawbacks

Now, there are some drawbacks to know. First, being that it is so intense, it’s not for beginners. Until you have a good base level of cardio built up, stay away from this form of training. If you can easily complete the C25K – 5K Trainer, you know you’re ready to begin.

Second, because it is so demanding on the body, you can only do it a few times per week, and it must be coordinated with any strength training workouts you do.

Too much HIIT and weight lifting will quickly lead to overtraining, so this must be avoided. Making sure that you have at least one to two days off for complete rest and recovery between the workout will help ensure that you are going to recovery properly and be ready to tackle each session as it comes.

If you start to feel like it’s a drag to get through those sessions, that could indicate that you may be overtraining and should take it down a notch.

Also, avoid doing a HIIT session after doing an intense leg weight workout as that will really hamper the recovery that you see from that leg workout itself.

So there you have the facts to know about high intensity interval training. If you are of a good fitness level, it’s a great form of exercise to start getting into your training routine.


What’s your favorite form of HIIT? What type of results have you seen with it? Share your personal experience with us.