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Terry’s Take: HIIT

At Fondren Fitness, we are very grateful to have the best group instructors in the Jackson metro area. One class that we offer is High Intensity Interval Training, better known simply as HIIT.  Personally, HIIT is my favorite form of training and it’s my go-to style of exercise to help me meet my goals – whether that be to shed a few pounds of body fat or to increase my marathon pace. 

But what exactly defines a “HIIT” workout?  How does it work? I am here to answer those questions and to tell you how you can construct your own HIIT workout at home or at Fondren Fitness! 

Essentially, HIIT training is a cardiovascular exercise routine that uses rotating intervals of maximum exertion followed by short rest periods, bookended by a warm up and cool down.  These routines are designed to be short, but very efficient workout sessions – usually 30 minutes or less. While this is a broad definition of HIIT, there are several more well-defined HIIT regimens such as Tabata, Gibala, and Vollard.

HIIT training has been shown to be useful in multiple ways: increasing VO2 max, lowering insulin resistance, and oxidizing body fat.

Increasing VO2 Max: VO2 max measures one’s ability to consume oxygen during exercise and is a key metric in measuring cardiovascular health. Izumi Tabata, who was at the time Dean of the Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Sport and Health Science, developed the Tabata Protocol, which is a form of HIIT training that uses a 2:1 exercise to rest ratio. Tabata tested his protocol on Olympic speed skaters and discovered that this form of training was much more efficient in increasing VO2 max on his athletes than steady state training.  Numerous studies using other interval cycles have also shown the effectiveness of interval training on increasing VO2 max.

Lowering Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells do not respond to insulin and do not take in glucose from your blood. When this occurs, there are several negative effects on your overall health. HIIT training has been shown to more effectively decrease insulin resistance when compared to continuous training or controlled training. 

Fat Oxidation: A recent study examined HIIT’s physiological effects on fat oxidation in moderately active women. The participants in the study performed HIIT every other day over a two-week period. The study found that seven HIIT sessions over a two-week period improved whole body fat oxidation and the capacity for skeletal muscle to oxidize fat in moderately active women. Another review summarized the results of HIIT on fat loss and stated that HIIT can result in modest reductions of subcutaneous fat in healthy individuals, and even greater reductions for overweight individuals.

With this knowledge, it’s now time to try it out!

The following is a thirty-minute HIIT workout you can do with minimal equipment, at home or at Fondren Fitness:

Equipment needed: Moderately heavy dumbbells or a barbell, battle ropes, and a jump rope (optional)

  • 5 minute warm up at 50% of max effort – treadmill, elliptical, or rower (or jog outside)
  • Do the following nine moves for 45 seconds each, at maximum output. Take a 15 second rest between each exercise. After completing all nine moves, rest for two minutes and then repeat the cycle once more.

1.     Jumping jacks

2.     Push ups

3.     Jump squats

4.     Battle ropes

5.     Lunge jumps

6.     Bicep curls

7.     Burpees

8.     Squat to overhead press (dumbbells or barbells)

9.     Jump rope or high knees 5 minute cool down at 50% of max effort – treadmill, elliptical, or rower (or jog outside)

  •  5 minute cool down at 50% of max effort – treadmill, elliptical, or rower (or jog outside)