Get fit with HIIT

You want to lose weight, you know you need to burn a lot of calories but you don’t have hours to spend at the gym several times a week. The solution could be “HIIT” or High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a great way to get the most out of your workout in a shorter period of time. A workout can be completed in only 20-30 minutes and while it requires less time, a higher number of calories are used. HIIT has also been shown to break through exercise plateaus, and increases EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), basically the number of calories burned after an exercise session.

HIIT programs include a manipulation of two variables which are work and rest. “The work period needs to be very hard,” said Health First Pro-Health and Fitness Center Group Fitness & Personal Training Supervisor Jill Wattenbarger, MHA, AHFS, CPT. “When using rate of perceived exertion (RPE) on a 0-10 scale, the work needs to be an 8-9, followed by a period of rest (light activity or 3-4 RPE.)”

“When beginning a HIIT program, the rest time will need to be longer than the work time. Over time as the person gets stronger we would like to see a 1:1 ratio. (30 seconds work vs. 30 seconds rest). Starting out, the goal would be a 1:3 ratio (30 seconds work followed by 90 seconds rest).”

Another benefit to the workout is it requires no equipment. A workout can consist of all body weight exercises. Those exercises can include sprints, burpees, squat jumps, push-ups, squat thrusts, dips, lunges, lateral shuffles, jumping jacks, high knees, etc.

Some equipment can be included during a cycle (medicine balls, BOSU balls, resistance bands and weights.) You can perform medicine ball slams, burpees with a BOSU ball, squat/row with resistance bands.

HIIT workouts also allow for variation. A HIIT session could use all cardiovascular movements or a machine. For example, on an elliptical after a long warm up, push very hard with speed and resistance (RPE of 8-10) for 30 seconds then recover (RPE for 30 seconds.) Repeat this for 10-20 minutes.

While a HIIT session can be done without a trainer, one could be beneficial for many reasons. HIIT sessions are very intense and form is very important. A trainer can make sure the participant’s form is correct and each exercise is being performed correctly and safely.
This type of exercise session should only be performed 2-3 times a week on non-consecutive days. Your body needs 48-72 hours of rest between each session to avoid over training and injury. For more information, please contact Jill Wattenbarger at (321) 434-8646 or