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Blog Fitness Buzzword Explained: What is HIIT & Why is it so Good?


Fitness Buzzword Explained: What is HIIT & Why is it so Good?

  • by Michelle
  • August 31, 2011

HIIT has been a popular buzzword in the fitness industry for quite some time, but I still get many people asking what it is and why it’s so popular? HIIT is an abbreviation standing for high-intensity interval training. It is a form of cardiovascular exercise believed to increase fat burn through performing continuous bouts of low and high intensity work over a set period of time. HIIT training, not including warm-up and cool down, should last no longer than 20 minutes and can be adapted to almost any form of cardiovascular exercise, indoor and outdoor.

Many people believe that in order to burn fat they have to spend hours upon hours in the gym doing “cardio” on one of those dreaded machines; however, this is false. The idea behind HIIT is that you work near maximal effort for short bursts and then recover before performing the next burst of maximal effort. HIIT is usually performed at a 2:1 work/rest ratio and if done properly will be very successful in torching fat. The idea behind this form of training is that you not only increase the amount of calories burned during a workout, you also increase the calories burned post-workout while your body is recovering also known as “after-burn” or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).

Benefits of HIIT

1. Decrease training time:

HIIT allows you to spend less time working out, but reap the benefits of doing it for hours and hours.

2. Increase VO2 Max:

HIIT has to ability to increase the amount of oxygen the body can take in during exercise, which improves endurance and stamina allowing a person to perform physical activities for a longer period of time.

3. Increase resting metabolic rate (RMR):

Studies have shown HIIT increases the amount of calories the body burns while resting (RMR). Compared to steady state cardio, the body will burn fat during HIIT and continue to burn fat at an increased rate for up to 24 hours afterwards.

4. More exciting then long bouts of steady state cardio:

HIIT is more exciting than performing long bouts of cardio on a piece of cardio equipmentour outdoors. Put some upbeat music in your headphones, get going, and before you know it you will be drenched in sweat and done your workout!

Example of HIIT

An example of a HIIT workout performed on a treadmill would be to start with a light 3 to 4 minute warm-up. This warm-up would be followed by 30 seconds of running as fast as you can and then 60-90 seconds of moderate paced running or walking for recovery. These “intervals” would be repeated 6 to 10 times, depending on fitness level and then followed by a light 3 to 4 minute cool down.


Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information about HIIT training and all the benefits that come along with it.

Michelle Roots BA KIN, CSCS, PES