HIIT, Your Best Shot at Being Fit

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High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has been around for years but is finally coming into mainstream fitness for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Several years ago, HIIT was incorporated into the training regimens of Olympic, Professional, and Collegiate athletes. The benefits of high intensity training for these athletes included higher VO2 Max, greater lung capacity, improved oxygen utilization, delayed onset of lactic acid build up in muscle cells, and greater overall output during practice, drills, games, and competitions.

That’s all good stuff, right? To the average person these improvements don’t mean much. What it does mean to the average person is this: burn a lot of calories in a short period of time while boosting your metabolism and improving your cardiovascular conditioning.

Many of my clients and friends complain of having to do long, tiresome, and boring cardio workouts that leave them wishing there was a better way to “get it done”. HIIT is the way to get it done in a shorter period of time but with a much higher intensity level. You really need to work your butt off to make this work for you!

To start, you must determine your Target Heart Rate Zone (THRZ). This can be done by clicking here. During HIIT, the goal is to get your heart rate up to the upper end of the THRZ, keep it there for a short period of time (1 -2 minutes), then bring it down to the middle of your THRZ for a short period of time, then back up again. This pattern should be performed for 20 to 30 minutes.

This type of training is called high intensity for a reason. It is challenging and tough to do. You will breath heavily and sweat a lot when performed properly. The goal is to get your heart rate up as high and as safe as possible in a short period of time in order to burn high amounts of calories. Depending on your training schedule, HIIT can be performed 2-3 times per week.

The following HIIT programs are some of my favorites to do. These are just examples. I recommend you consult with your physician or a professional fitness instructor before trying these HIIT programs. Be sure to monitor your heart rate to make sure you are at the upper end of your THRZ. It will take approximately 7-8 minutes to get the heart rate up that high. If your heart rate gets too high and you have trouble catching your breath, then lower your intensity by decreasing speed, incline, or pace of exercises. Good luck!

Treadmill HIIT (for beginners):

  1. Brisk walk at 4.5 mph at 2% incline for 2 min. (this may be a slow jog for some of you)
  2. Run or Jog at 6.0 mph at 1% incline for 1 min.
  3. Brisk walk at 4.0 mph at 5% incline for 2 min.

Repeat 4 more times then do 5 minute cool down (walk at 3.5 mph)

Total Time (including cool down): 30 minutes

Outside HIIT (for intermediate trainees):

  1. Jog at your own pace for 2 min.
  2. Sprint for 30 seconds
  3. Walk for 1 minute 30 seconds

Repeat 5 mores times then do 5 minute cool down (slow walk)

Total Time (including cool down): 25 minutes

HIIT Using Calisthenics (for advanced trainees):

  1. Jumping Jacks for 45 seconds
  2. Mountain Climbers for 30 seconds
  3. March in place for 30 seconds (for a rest; brings heart rate down a little)
  4. Burpees or Squat Thrusts for 45 seconds
  5. Scissor Jumps and Jabs for 30 seconds
  6. March in place for 30 seconds
  7. 10 Push-Ups

Repeat 5 more times then do 5 minute cool down (slow walk)

Approximate Total Time (including cool down): 20 minutes

As you can see, HIIT can be done a variety of ways. The ways to do High Intensity Interval Training is endless. The key items to focus on are your heart rate and your breathing. If either gets to high for your fitness level, then decrease your intensity.

Putting together a HIIT program takes a little bit of thinking and imagination and a lot of hard work and motivation. However, this type of exercise will certainly get you in shape, burn a high amount of calories, and keep your metabolism running high all day long.

 

 

Do You Do Functional Fitness Training?

 

Functional fitness training combines exercises that train your muscles to perform everyday activites safely and efficiently. Most people exercise in order to improve their health and quality of life. This is exactly what funtional fitness training does. Training and developing your muscles in this way will help you to perform daily activities such as carrying groceries, shoveling snow, walking up and down stairs, or just running around the backyard with your kids.

According to the Mayo Clinic, functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports. As I teach my clients these multi-muscle group movements,  I emphasize the use of core stability and strengthening in each exercise. I encourage clients to perform these exercises on a BOSU, balance discs, or balancing on one leg.

Functional exercises should involve multijoint and multimuscle group exercises. For example, instead of doing just a standing bicep curl moving only the elbow joint, perform a squat on a BOSU with a bicep curl. Or, take a basic lunge. You can make this more challenging by adding a lunge and shoulder press together. Some examples of functional fitness training using multimuscle group exercises can be seen on our YouTube channel and in our Photo Gallery. Performing theses exercises properly and consistantly may help to improve your overall quality of life and reduce injuries as you age.

Older adults and seniors will certainly benefit from functional fitness exercises. These exercise will help to increase overall strength, coordination, and balance which may reduce the risk of falls. Funtional fitness training is a weight-bearing activity and can help to prevent and, in some individuals, reverse osteoporosis.

If you are new to exercise, are elderly, or pregnant, it is best to check with your doctor before performing multimuscle group funtional training. This type of training is a little more advanced and requires focus and concentration and will be sure to get your heart rate up. Always remember, if there are more muscle groups moving at one time then the heart must pump higher amounts of oxygenated blood throughout the body to keep those muscles moving. Therefore, you are not only strengthening your muscles, you are also making cardiovascular improvements as well!

Adding functional fitness training to your workouts will certainly improve your overall health and well-being and will make your daily life stresses a little easier to deal with.