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HIIT It or Quit It

Hey. Hi. Hello!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’re all planning exciting summer activities like picnics and mini golf because while every normal person has the weekend off, I’m basicallt just starting my workweek! I had the past three days off and honestly I had no idea what to do with myself. Wednesday I basically just stared out my window for a few hours before refreshing the YouTube homepage six times to see if anyone interesting posted something.

I think today is a perfect time to be talking about today’s topic. Now that we’re officially getting that summer weahter, I’m sure you’re all feeling just as much pressure as I am to start actually working on that bikini body. I mean, better late than never ya know. While supersets are the best way to maximize time during lifting workouts, I’d have to say (and science agrees) that hands-down the best way to maximize ANY workout is through HIIT.

You may be asking yourself, what is HIIT?! Well, lovely reader, I’m SO GLAD you asked. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The idea behind this is sort of like Tabata in that it’s short bursts of a movement followed by a short rest period. When HIIT first came into my life (and I think others can relate) was thanks to the Kayla Itsines BBG app. I mean, as a former soccer player I was used to shuttle runs and suicides, but never to the concept of “HIIT” as a whole.

For example, classic HIIT for me, thanks to BBG, was treadmil sprints. I’d set the speed for about 11 mph, then sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. The best part about HIIT is that the maximum amount of time you should be doing this sort of workout is 20 minutes, so while you may feel like you’re dying, it’s over relativtely quickly.

HIIT has recently become synonmous with the idea of “fat blasting.” Basically, you’re putting your body under high stress for a short amount of time. Unlike a steady state movement like walking or lifting weights, HIIT movements get your heart rate to spike faster, and gets you into your maximal zone to start burning fat quicker. While it’s true that you’re actually more likely to burn fat stores from steady state cardio since that’s where your body is pulling energy from, HIIT gets your heart rate up, and will thus speed up things like your “after burn” and your metabolism to then blast fat.

If you’re anything like me, you follow a lot of fitness people on social media. I’m sure you’ve noticed the influx if HIIT and “Fat Blaster” workouts these people are posting. As such, you’ll know that there is no exact formula for the “best” HIIT workouts in order to truly burn fat. In all honestly, as long as you’re maximizing your work times and your rest times for recovery, and you get your heart rate spiking quick, then you’ll be good.

These days, I’m doing less HIIT on the treadmill (because the treadmills in my gym can’t be programmed for HIIT), and instead I’m doing more circuit type stuff. When it’s a HIIT day for me, which happen about 2-3 times a week, I’ll pick four plyometric movements such as:

  • Burpees
  • Plank Jacks
  • Pop Squats
  • Jump Squats
  • Shoulder Taps
  • Commandos
  • Knees to Jump Squat
  • Jumping lunges
  • Crab walks
  • In-Out Squats
  • Triple Jump Squats

Most people tend to chose 4-5 movements. I don’t know the reason behind that, but in my mind four movements just go by fast. The timing for each movement is where people differ. My preferred method is 40 seconds of one movement, straight into 40 seconds of the next movement and so on, with a 1 minute rest after. Then I’ll repeat this circuit 4-5 times and call it a day. This results in about 12-15 minutes of HIIT, which is right in the 10-20 minute suggested range.

Other time intervals I’ve seen are 40 seconds on immediately followed by 15 seconds rest. Or 30 seconds on and 30 seconds rest, etc. etc. The idea is that you’re selecting an interval time and a rest time that allows you to give 100% effort for the movement, and then recover enough to give 100% for the next. However, you don’t typically want to do like 40 seconds on then a 1 minute rest for each movement because you want to keep your heart rate up in between movements and circuits. I prefer to just knock them out one after another because I know I can push myself hard enough for that 2 mintes and 40 seconds, and it just seems to go by faster that way as well.

While this is what I do, there really is no “best way” to do HIIT. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up and are getting your sweat on and having fun, I think you’re doing it right. Yeah I said HAVING FUN. HIIT should be fun! 15 minutes is literally nothing in a 16 hour day, so take that time, even if you have to do it in your PJ’s right out of bed, and get moving.

So, I hope you learned something? Idk I like to think I’m educational with a hint of humor. If you’ve done HIIT circuits before and have some favorite moves you think I should try, drop them in the comments below!

Until next time.

xoxo,

LHC

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