What does HIIT workout mean, and why does it pertain to my situation? To start, HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.
You will find HIIT workouts being bragged about on social media and pedaled as a get in shape quick workout.
HIIT workouts are great for losing fat if done consistently and properly. A lot of people think they can just do a 7 minute HIIT workout a few times a week and end up looking like their favorite celebrity.
To be fair, if you did a 7 minute HIIT workout every day for a year, there is a good chance your body would make some serious changes. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to commit to that. You can read more here about creating good exercise habits.
I have said it before, but the best recipe for getting in the best shape of your life is consistency and proper calorie consumption. Learn how to calculate your maintenance calories before you even consider counting your calories.
You are reading this article because you want to get in great shape. Do you want to build muscle and burn fat? If the answer is yes, go ahead and download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). You will find many free workouts and 10 HIIT workouts to choose from.
What does HIIT workout mean
We already know that HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, but how do we take advantage of it?
HIIT requires spurts of very intense working out, followed by either a rest, or a lighter version of the same exercise.
Most HIIT workouts will last anywhere from 7-20 minutes. I prefer to keep mine in the 15 minute range. The good thing about high intensity interval training is that you can adjust the length of your workout depending on your abilities.
Let me give you an example of what a high intensity interval training workout might look like. We wrote an article about some good HIIT workouts at home.
In this example, I will use burpees as my exercise of choice.
Warmup: 30 seconds of jogging in place
Intense Portion: 30 seconds of burpees
Rest Portion: 60 seconds of catching your breath
To do HIIT properly, you must give it your absolute full effort for the intense portion. If you are not huffing and puffing, you aren’t doing it right. This whole workout is only 15 minutes, so you can make it through.
History of HIIT
HIIT has been around since the beginning of time, we just haven’t had a label for it until recently.
Think about the hunters from thousands of years ago. They would be required to chase down animals with intense spurts, and then slow down. Then pick back up again and chase them down again.
The term as we use it now wasn’t even introduced until the early 2010’s. And now you see it thrown around like candy in a piñata. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t insanely useful for burning fat.
Not only does HIIT improve your cardiovascular health, but it absolutely shreds fat from your body.
Why HIIT works
If done properly, HIIT increases your heart rate significantly more than traditional cardio. This increased heart rate burns calories. Burning calories leads to fat loss.
This seems so simple, doesn’t it? Simple, but not easy. As mentioned in one of the sections previous, you MUST be intense with your high intensity portion of the workout. That is why it works.
If you are unsure of what your heart rate should be, you will need to calculate your maximum heart rate. Simply subtract your age from 220. So if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 220 – 30 = 190.
Now that you know your maximum heart rate, you now have a target goal for your HIIT workouts. You ideally want your heart rate to be 90% of your max during the intense portion of your workout.
In my example, I used a 30 year old, leading to a max heart rate of 190. Let’s calculate what their max is. 190 * .9 = 171 BPM. That is INTENSE, believe me. Hit that target every time.
Can I build muscle with HIIT?
The answer is yes, you can absolutely build muscle with HIIT, but it’s important to factor in your goals. Are you looking to build muscle and gain weight, or build muscle and lose weight?
If you are already skinny and looking to build muscle I recommend reading 3 tips on going from a thin body to a muscular body.
If you are already overweight and looking to lose weight, you should add in some weight training to do in conjunction with your HIIT workouts.
For me, HIIT is a great fat loss tool, but a poor muscle building tool UNLESS paired with a weight training plan. We have FREE weight training plans in our app by the way!
An example of a workout plan paired with HIIT would be a 3 day per week weight training plan followed by HIIT each workout day. Or you could stagger it to something like this:
Sunday – Weight Training
Monday – HIIT
Tuesday – Weight Training
Wednesday – HIIT
Thursday – Weight Training
Friday – HIIT
Saturday – Rest
You can make this what you want it to be. The biggest requirement here is just showing up. Make it a priority to get to the gym or even doing HIIT workouts at home. Form good habits, and hit your goals.
Main Point: What does HIIT workout mean and why should I care?
We learned that HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It is meant to be intense, which is why it is usually condensed into shorter workouts.
Even though HIIT has been around since the dawn of man, we now know that the term itself is something fairly new.
HIIT works because your heart rate increases to 90% of your maximum heart rate. If you can get to that each time you workout, you will hit your goals.
What are your thoughts on high intensity interval training? Is it something that you want to do? We would love to hear from you!