Let’s admit, cardio can be pretty boring, and not everyone has the time to run for an hour solid. That’s why I like to incorporate HiiT in to my regular workouts.
HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a highly effective training technique that gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time than ‘traditional’ cardio. The technique involves all out, 100% effort exercise in short, intense bursts, followed by short periods of recovery that is often low-intensity or stationary.
I find the most effective timing for HiiT to be 2:1. For example, two minutes of running to one minute of walking/jogging. This is a pretty intense ratio.
You can also try a moderate ratio of 1:1. For example, one minute of running to one minute of walking/jogging.
You can try a light ratio of 1:2. For example, one minute of running to two minutes of walking/jogging.
These ratios will depend on your fitness levels and how long and how intensely you’re exercising for. If you only have 15 minutes, try a more intense ratio, or if you’re new to exercise and HiiT, try a less intense ratio.
Ease in gradually: If you’ve never done HiiT before and don’t exercise too often, don’t start with 30 minutes at an intense ratio. HiiT is hard! Start with a little and work your way up to where you’re uncomfortable and stretched but not dying.
Warm Up: If you are starting to exercise cold, with no stretching or movement, do not start with an intense 30 second sprint. You will pull a muscle! Do a little warm up and have a little stretch first.
Choose an exercise mode you enjoy: You don’t have to run to do HiiT! You can do it on the bikes, skipping, boxing, plyometric bodyweight exercises, intense weight lifting, whatever gets your blood really pumping! Find some exercise modes you enjoy and do those.
Fuel up properly: HiiT is not for the weak so that means you’ll need to have sufficient water and energy to get you through it. I really wouldn’t advise fasted HiiT, you’ll likely end up feeling faint and not get a good workout in. Make sure you drink plenty of water and have eaten enough of the right foods to fuel you.
Listen to your body: If you feel faint or sick, stop, take a breather. If you need to stop, stop. There’s no shame in it! Work your way up. The worst thing you can do is push yourself too hard, puke, faint or hurt yourself and never want to do it again!
Invest in a HiiT timer: you can look at your watch or use the standard mobile phone timer but you can get great apps specially designed for HiiT. I like the SIT app because it’s simple and effective.
My favourite HiiT workouts:
Treadmill or land sprints: sprint at full pace followed by (active) recovery at whatever ratio you want.
Hill sprints: Run or sprint up a hill followed by a jog down and (active) recovery at whatever ratio you want.
‘Deadmill’ sprints: place your hands on the front bar of a switched off treadmill, use your legs to start pushing the belt in to movement, until you’re at full speed and sprinting hard sprint followed by (active) recovery at whatever ratio you want.
Skipping sprints: Intense sprint skipping followed by gentle skipping or rest at whatever ratio you want (would not advise doing this if you can’t skip well – it just won’t be an effective workout!)
Boxing bouts: intense boxing on a punchbag/pads, followed by (active) recovery at whatever ratio you want.
Burpee bouts: intense bout of burpees, followed by (active) recovery at whatever ratio you want.
Tyre Flipping: (this is my favourite) if you can get to one of those big tractor tyres, flip it over and over (or forward and back) for a set period of time followed by recovery at whatever ratio you want
HiiT is a really great form of exercise to include in your fitness routine, it’s great for fat burning and overall fitness and health. Plus it can be done in and out of the gym and in any amount of time. Let me know how you get on if you try any of my