Jun 29

Get on some HIIT to burn some extra fat!

high-intensity-interval-training- high knees

Get on some HIIT to burn some extra fat

  • Increase EPOC

o   Increased Oxygen consumption due to HR increase

o   End of the day=more kcal burnt compared to SS Cardio.

  • Increase metabolic rate

o   In 20 mins HR inc. more than SS Cardio

o   Thermal temp increases to burn more calories!

  • Less time that steady state cardio

o   Ex. Of 20 min HIIT on Elliptical

  • 3 examples of using HIIT

o   Elliptical

o   Jump Rope

o   J. Jax

  • Easy workout finisher
  • Mix w/ steady state cardio

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become very popular amongst fitness communities. More and more personal trainers, fitness instructors and coaches are utilizing this much talked about form of exercise. It’s nothing new; it has just been getting a lot of attention in the past 10 years or so.

HIIT is a mode of exercise intensities where one performs a set of higher intensity exercise and followed by a lower intensity movement. Additionally, the lower intensity exercise will be performed at a lesser amount of the time it took to complete the higher intensity exercise. That means this style of exercise is being performed at a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio. Let’s look at an example involving two simple exercises to better break this down:

The two exercise examples listed below are the standard jump rope exercise and stationary high knees. We will choose jump rope to be done twice as long as the knees, therefore making jump rope the higher intensity exercise. The higher intensity exercise will be performed for 40 sec. and the lower intensity exercise will be performed for 20 sec. Each set will performed one right after the other. This design will be repeated for a total of 10 times each, which makes this HIIT session a total of 10 minutes. It will look like this:

Set 40 sec. period 20 sec. period.
1 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
2 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
3 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
4 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
5 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
6 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
7 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
8 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
9 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees
10 Jump Rope Stationary High Knees

This is a very simple and straight forward example of one way HIIT can be performed. HIIT can also be performed as a 3:1, 4:1 or even a 5:1 work-to-rest ratio. It just depends on how long you want to work at a higher intensity for. Some examples of times of the work-to-rest ratios may include:

  1. 45:15 sec.
  2. 40:10 sec
  3. 60:12 sec.

This seems easy to apply, however because of the entire workout session (such as the one listed above) is 10 minutes without any rest, the exercise becomes a mix of aerobic and anaerobic stresses on your body’s energy systems. Exercises that are prescribed for a program such as the one listed above should be exercises that can be performed at a moderate to slightly higher intensity in a safe and efficient manner.

An example of what not to do would be to perform a set of elbow planks followed by a set of push-ups. If you did this, you would basically be pushing yourself up off the ground for 10 minutes and that would do more harm than good. That would leave way too much stress on the shoulders, wrists and many other aspects of the front portion of your body.

Examples of safe exercises are low impact and exercise that work in contrast to each other. Performing exercises in the standing position and then switching to a prone position would be more beneficial. An example of this would be to pair squats with prone position mountain climbers. This way, after you perform work in the vertical plane of motion, you can slightly “rest” the vertical movement and move to a horizontal position without putting too many compressive forces by performing repetitive movements and overuse injuries. REMEMBER, you want to feel better finishing your work outs then when you began!

Now, you don’t have to do exercises like jumping jacks, jump rope or other body weight resistance exercises as part of your HIIT routine, they’re just really convenient and you can do them in the leisure of the inside or your house, garage or back yard. Physical activities such as running, elliptical exercise, cycling or rowing can be utilized in your HIIT routine as well! In addition, any other cardio equipment can be used as well for HIIT. For example, let’s show case the standard treadmill and how it can be used for HIIT. We will use just inclined walking as the higher intensity work and low inclined walking as the lower intensity portion of the exercise. Here’s sample of a simple 3:1 inclined walking workout.

Set 60 sec. period 20 sec. period.
1 10 incline, 3.0 MPH 3 incline, 2 MPH
2 10 incline 3 incline
3 10 incline 3 incline
4 10 incline 3 incline
5 10 incline 3 incline
6 10 incline 3 incline
7 10 incline 3 incline
8 10 incline 3 incline
9 10 incline 3 incline
10 10 incline 3 incline


Now let’s talk about the benefits of HIIT. HIIT puts more a stress on the anaerobic system because the body is working at a moderate-to-higher intensity. This means that there is an increase in certain stress hormones that utilize sugars in the blood stream as well as the lactic acid metabolism. Don’t worry, this is good. By raising your heart rate and increasing the usage of the anaerobic system, you will activate a phenomenon in our bodies called EPOC, which stands for, get ready:


Big and scary phrase huh? Don’t worry, just call in EPOC… I pronounce it like “ee-pock.” Who knows if that’s the right way to say it, I learned it the term from my crazy mentor, a Turkish Professor of Exercise Physiology, who pronounced it in a strong Turkish accent. Anyway, back to the point. EPOC is the amount of oxygen your body will be utilizing after you finish exercising, which means an increase in FAT CLEARANCE (burning fat) after your body recovers from exercising.  Therefore, at the end of the day, you will use more calories than if you were to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. This is a benefit you will receive of HIIT. It is also sometimes called “the after burn” effect. EPOC can also be achieved by performing steady cardio such as going on a jog for 30 minutes at a brisk pace and is less intense than the heart pounding effects of HIIT, but to a lesser degree.

Now let’s not get carried that HIIT is better than just running. There are benefits to both of these forms of physical activity. Performing HIIT will elicit a lot of stress hormones throughout the body and will definitely decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve various health conditions due to the increase in oxygen utilization and anaerobic metabolism. However, performing steady state cardio at a lower intensity (say 60% of your maximum HR) for about 30 minutes will benefit in burning fat and increasing overall health as well. In addition, steady state cardio can be a good type of exercise that will not give as many compressive forces on your joints that the high intensity of HIIT exercises can have. Now compressive forces aren’t bad, just doing the same type of activity over and over again can be detrimental to your body. REMEMBER, balance is extremely important. Finding a middle ground in facilitating these two forms of exercise will equate to a very balanced approach not only in burning fat and staying strong, but also increasing your performance in functioning in your everyday life. You can use HIIT as a great finisher to your resistance training routines or add it to the beginning your steady cardio routine.

As you can see, you can use your imagination to design your own awesome HIIT workouts. Of course if you want to know some ideas from my years of experience studying how the body reacts to exercise and physical activity, you can always ask me and I’ll be sure to give you some innovative ideas that will not only blow your mind, but bring health and fitness to a higher level. Now that you’ve read this, go design a workout on your own and do some HIIT!