High Intensity Interval Training – The HIIT Cardio Strategy

High Intensity Interval Training – The HIIT Cardio Strategy

We don’t all have a spare hour to work out. How many times have you told yourself you would hit the gym more, if only you had more time? Some of us want to stay in shape, but need a regime that can fit around our busy schedule.

This is where High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) comes in. HIIT cardio describes any workout which involves intense bursts of activity followed by lest strenuous activity or rest. It is an all-at-once training exercise which requires maximum effort for a short amount of time.

An example of this is to sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then walk for one minute. Repeating this sequence for ten minutes will give you a short but effective workout. However hectic your schedule, it’s easy to find an extra ten minutes during your day for a quick workout.

high intensity interval training

It can be worth it because the benefits from the HIIT cardio strategy are endless:


As mentioned above, High Intensity Interval Training is perfect for those who are time conscious, because you can achieve more with a short session of HIIT than with normal endurance training. Research from the American College of Sports Medicine found that just 2 weeks of High-intensity Interval training is just as effective at building aerobic capacity as 6-8 weeks of endurance.

Due to the immense amount of effort required you can reap the benefits of a rigorous gym session in just 10 minutes of HIIT cardio. There’s no excuse as to why you can’t wake up an extra 20 minutes earlier!


Burn more fat

High Intensity Interval Training keeps your oxygen consumption and heart rate high. This allows our bodies to burn more calories and thus more fat.

Our muscles and our hearts are put to the test during these intense workouts, as they work very hard to keep up the pace.

High Intensity Interval Training Crossfit exercises, such as one workout which includes thrusters and assisted pull-ups, were put to the test by John Porcari. Results found that an average of 115 calories were burnt during short 12 minute circuits, not taking into consideration the ‘afterburn effect’ mentioned later on in this article, ‘EPOC’.

It also increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in just 2 weeks.


hiit cardio



The crossfit exercises also show how HIIT cardio can increase endurance. They found that, on average, participants heart rates were elevated to 90% of the maximum, which is optimum for increasing cardiac endurance. Oxygen consumption was also at the highest level recommended to improve stamina and cardiovascular health.


No equipment required

HIIT can be done anywhere at any time, as you don’t need anything other than a little motivation. HIIT is all about working very hard, and simple things such as jumping lunges can be most efficient.


Maintain muscle

hiit maintains muscle

People who train and diet may worry about losing muscle mass as well as weight. However, this doesn’t need to be the case if done in moderation, as studies found that combining weight training with HIIT can allow you to burn fat but maintain muscle mass (as long as your diet is right, consuming the adequate amount of calories and macros).


Increase metabolism

Consistently ‘HIITing it’ will give your metabolism an all-important boost, because ofEPOC. Our bodies require an increase in oxygen to fuel our muscles as we train intensely, creating an oxygen deficit. Then, during recovery, we enter “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” and burn calories as the body repair cycle increases our oxygen intake.

The establishment of our build of post-exercise metabolism means we burn for up to 48 hours after the High Intensity Interval Training.  HIIT can contribute towards getting a six pack quicker and more efficiently. Another technique which I use regularly is to incorporate skipping into my training regime, after three or four exercises, I do a rigorous couple of minutes on the skipping rope before the rest period of 30-45 seconds. This helps with EPOC as you can read in our benefits of skipping.

Appetite suppression

We all know that normal exercise makes us hungry as our bodies enter a caloric deficient state. However, some evidence has suggested that HIIT cardio can suppress appetite. According to the University of Western Australia, the hunger-stimulation hormone (ghrelin) wasn’t active in HIIT practitioners whilst lactate and glucose levels in the blood were increased, leading to short term appetite suppression.


man and woman doing pushups


Cautionary note: HIIT should only be attempted by those in good health. If in doubt, please consult a healthcare professional. It’s important to not exceed your body’s capabilities. Whilst HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training) is very fast paced and hard hitting, you need to use a proper form throughout to avoid any injuries.

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