HIIT For Beginners and Beyond

Intro to HIIT And How To Use It! 

Sometimes seasons, interruptions and plain old life events happen unexpectedly making time for your regular workout routine seem like a bigger obstacle than it has to be! With so much already demanding our attention it’s nice to have options for a quick win! 

If this has ever felt like or perhaps is you right now, High Intensity Interval Training commonly know as HIIT might be the right solution.

Interested? Read on and try our HIIT program for yourself….

Congratulations, you’re about to add an important tool to your fitness repertoire.

The HIIT principal works by cycling short bursts of high intensity activity with recovery periods of either moderate, low or zero level activity. HIIT has been shown to improve resting heart rate, blood pressure, cardiovascular fitness and increase fat metabolism.

HIIT can boost your metabolism and even build muscle and it’s common to see HIIT routines that alternate aerobic and resistance training movements.

HIIT offers a ton of options for active people in all sports including bodybuilding because even advanced lifters with a good amount of muscular mass can use HIIT for conditioning without breaking down muscle. To be sure nutrition plays an important part in muscle maintenance because if you’re constantly missing the target in your macros and calories all bets are off but when you are reasonably on point, HIIT is a great even for people who don’t do or simply don’t like steady state cardio as it will increase muscular endurance and help muscle builders work harder in chasing the all-important Plus 1s that can drive muscular hypertrophy.

HIIT for people who are new to fitness can be a valuable a training asset also by starting slowly with a 1:4 work to rest ratio.

A typical example for a beginner might be 15 seconds of work using either aerobic such as jumping jacks, an anaerobic movement such as push-ups followed by 60 seconds of reduced movement like walking in place or even complete rest.

As improvements in ability and endurance develop, HIIT workouts can increase in intensity ratio by increasing the work to rest ration. An example is a 1:2 ratio or 30 seconds of work for 60 seconds of rest is typical with other combinations as skill and knowledge increase.

Also important for a beginner is that HIIT can incorporate as many or as few rounds as you or your trainee are able to safely perform, remember a beginner’s program should always leave enough gas in the tank so that when the rounds are over your body is ready and willing to return and do it again at the next session.

Take me to the workouts!

Here’s more on the benefits of using the High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT” workout format. 

  1. HIIT won’t wreck your schedule, a round trip to the gym (when we’re not in lockdown) can take between one and three hours but a full HIIT workout including warm up and cool down can be done in 30 minutes or much less depending how you organize your HIIT workout.
  2. You can perform a HIIT work out anywhere, a great HIIT workout can be performed in as little as 4 x 6 feet of free space.
  3. Bring HIIT to your next outdoor activity by choosing new places to perform your routine, i.e., as the middle marker of a nature walk or any outdoor activity.
  4. Great at home because no special equipment needed, bodyweight alone is super affective, and you can turn pretty much anything into the resistance tool, i.e., a few cans or jugs of anything can become makeshift dumbbells indoors, a jump rope or mini bands that literally fit in a jacket pocket can turn your training up a notch anywhere.
  5. HIIT workouts are proven to increase heart health. If you don’t have a regular cardio or perhaps don’t like cardio workouts, studies show that the cardiovascular adaptations from HIIT training are similar to and in some cases superior to cardiovascular adaptations from continuous endurance training (1)
  6. HIIT workouts are more efficient in encouraging the body’s breakdown of fat and carbohydrate for fuel when compared with continuous endurance training (2)
  7. HIIT increases your metabolism. (3) Increased metabolic health helps firm and tighten skin, cleanses your body of toxins, promotes fat loss and elevates your mood
  8. HIIT can increase your HGH release an encourages fat loss without breaking down muscle like extended steady state cardio can.
  9. HIIT can offer just the right challenge at every level of fitness. With a little practice it becomes easy to mix-and-match exercises and interval durations that create suitable variations from couch potato to Olympic quality workouts.

The Same But Different 

Men and woman come in different shapes and sizes with just as many different areas of focus, we’ve begun a HIIT workout series to provide you with a lot of options.

The first two HIIT workouts are HIIT FIRM & SHAPE which has a slightly increased focus on the lower body and HITT PUMP & FIT designed to challenge the whole body. Neither HIIT workout is exclusive to men or women so both can be enjoyed by everyone and both workouts have three levels of intensity built in. When starting any new workout program some people might feel more comfortable beginning with a single round… and that’s absolutely ok. Never overextend yourself, especially if you’re coming off a period of inactivity or beginning a new program, the goal is to build yourself up not tear your body down before you’ve begun. The greatest journeys all begin with a single step, and the vast majority of people if not everyone should finish their training session with some gas left in the tank. These workouts can be downloaded in a PDF format from the workout section

Your HIIT workout begins with a quick warmup.
Every workout should begin with an adequate warmup and to heat up your muscles, lubricate the joints and get fired up for a great session of work. For most people a good warmup will last 2 to 4 minutes before beginning a HIIT session.

Warm up, do you own or use ours. 
PDF

  • Standing tall, slowly raise your arms ups, stretching till your fingertips are reaching for the sky and you are on the tips of your toes, breath and stretch
  • Slowly bringing your arms down along the centre of your body, continue down into a toe touch, release contraction in the lumbar muscles while simultaneously using abdominal contraction to pull your shoulders as close as possible to your knees.
  • Slowly return to a standing tall position with knees slightly bent, shoulders back, eyes front and head up, take a few good deep breaths. 
  • Repeat 2-3 times or as necessary
  • Shoulder rolls with a focus on your scapula
  • Dynamic stretching
    • Arm swings: 10 forward, 10 rearward
    • Leg swings: 10 front to back, 10 side to side
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • You are ready to begin your HIIT

HIIT, FIRM & SHAPE
PDF

Beginner: 1-5 Rounds, 15 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

Intermediate 6-8 Rounds, 30-45 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

Advanced 8-10 Rounds, 60 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

#1 Squat Pulses With One Foot Raised

  • Start standing with feet wide and your toes slightly turned out.
  • Bend your knees into a slight squat and lift one heel so you’re on your toes.
  • Keep your other foot flat on the ground.
  • Lower your butt a few inches toward the ground while keeping your chest up.
  • Alternate between rounds.
  • Video

Tip: It’s normal to feel a lot of heat and burn, remember to engage your core.

#2 Mountain climbers

  • Beginning a plank position, alternate bringing your knees toward your elbow on the same side while maintaining a neutral position in your hips and lower back.
  • Focus on keeping your hips parallel to the mat, making sure not to rock side-to-side as you pedal your legs back and forth.
  • Video

Tip: To decrease intensity, slow the movement down by stepping forward with each foot.

#3 Tricep dips

  • With hands placed on the edge of a stable support surface and fingers facing forward, slide your buttocks forward.
  • Lower your hips down, bending your elbows,
  • Push back up.

Video

Tip: Bend your knees to decrease difficulty or extend your knees to increase degree of difficulty.

HIIT PUMPED & FIT
PDF

Beginner: 1-5 Rounds, 15 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

Intermediate 6-8 Rounds, 30-45 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

Advanced 8-10 Rounds, 60 seconds of work 60 seconds of rest,

#1 Push-ups

  • From a firm core engaged push-up position, hands in line with your chest and arms at a 45 degree angle.
  • Lead from the chest and press the ground.
  • Lower under control
  • Repeat
  • Video

Tip: Lower to your knees to keep going, your endurance will improve rapidly.

#2 Bodyweight squats

  • Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart. This is your starting position.
  • Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. …
  • Exhale. …
  • Repeat
  • Video

Tip: Descend till your thigh is parallel to the ground, a bit lower if you are able and this will activate your posterior chain on the upward movement protecting your knees, if descending to parallel is too challenging at first, use a chair or other support to help you with the movement.

#3 Burpees

  • Begin by laying flat with your chest on the floor, legs straight back and your hands palms down outside of your shoulders in a press up stance.
  • From there, push yourself up and tuck your feet underneath your body. Immediately jump up and touch your hands over your head.
  • As soon as you land, return to your starting position with your chest on the ground and your legs straight.
  • Repeat.
  • Video

Tip: Start slow to learn the movement before speeding up, the benefit will be greater in the long run.

Cool down post-HIIT 
Do you own cool down or use ours. 
PDF

A cool down will help reduce feelings of light-headedness or dizziness that can accompany a hard stop following intense activity. Using deep breathing techniques during your cool down exercises can help guide your heart rate back to normal as soon as possible.

Here is a simple effective post-HIIT cool down for you to follow.

  1. Full body stretch
    1. Standing tall, slowly raise your arms ups, stretching till your fingertips are reaching for the sky and you are on the tips of your toes, breath and stretch
    2. Slowly bringing your arms down along the centre of your body, continue down into a toe touch, release contraction in the lumbar muscles while simultaneously using abdominal contraction to pull your shoulders as close as possible to your knees.
    3. Slowly return to a standing tall position with knees slightly bent, shoulders back, eyes front and head up, take a few good deep breaths. 
  2. Cross-body shoulder stretch
  3. Cat/Cow stretch (Full body)
  4. Child pose stretch (Lower back)
  5. Knee to chest stretch (Glutes)
  6. Quad stretch
  7. Calf stretches (Calf, Achilles tendon)

Conclusion:

Armed with these quick and efficient HIIT workouts, unexpected events and holiday seasons don’t have to be obstacles keeping you from your fitness goals. Next time life threatens to side swipe you, smash a FIRM & SHAPE or PUMPED & FIT workouts for you daily endorphin rush. 

You got this, now go have fun!

ref:

  1. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/HIITvsCardio.html 
  2. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/jphysiol.2006.112094
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12137178/