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I enjoy working out at the gym but sometimes due to unexpected circumstances, like the latest coronavirus outbreak, I do home workouts or outdoor workouts. When the weather is warm, outside workouts can be a pleasure. One way to challenge your body is by doing HITT.

What is HIIT?

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a form of training where short periods of intense exercise are alternated with recovery periods. There are many ways in which you can incorporate HITT. Here are a few methods:

– TABATA REGIMEN: The Tabata regimen was developed by Izumi Tabata who studied athletes. The study compared Olympic speedskaters using a Tabata style training vs steady-state training. The results showed that the Tabata group [performing Tabata training 4 times per week, plus another day of steady-state training for 6 weeks] obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady-state training [training without stopping at 70% VO2max for 60 minutes, 5 times per week for 6 weeks].

  • Warm-up ➡️ 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise (at 170% of VO2max) ➡️ 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for 8 cycles.

– GIBALA REGIMEN: Subjects using this method trained 3 times per week and obtained gains similar to those who did steady-state (50–70% VO2max) training five times per week.

  • 3 minutes of warming up ➡️ 60 seconds of intense exercise (at 95% of VO2max) ➡️ 75 seconds of rest. Repeat for 8–12 cycles. OR
  • 3 minutes of warming up ➡️ 60 seconds of intense exercise (at 60% peak power) ➡️ 60 seconds of rest. Repeat for 10 cycles.

– ZUNIGA REGIMEN:

  • Warm-up ➡️ 30 seconds of intense exercise (at 90% of power output at VO2 max) ➡️ 30 seconds of rest.

HIIT Benefits

  • Athletism: HITT leads to aerobic improvements, increasing your athletic capacity and cardiovascular fitness, making you more athletic.
  • Fat Loss: It enhances whole-body fat oxidation, improving body composition, and reducing body fat.
  • Lean Muscle & Power: HITT augments your anaerobic capacity, breaking down glucose by using stored energy instead of oxygen for immediate energy. This process helps build lean muscle mass and burn calories post-workout.
  • Heart Health: It improves blood vessel function. Studies have shown a reduction in heart rate on people with coronary artery disease.
  • Glucose Metabolism: HIIT significantly lowers insulin resistance, the pathological condition when cells fail to allow insulin to enter disrupting blood glucose levels. It can also decrease fasting blood glucose levels.
  • Anti-Aging: HITT helps multiply the production of proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes, slowing aging at the cellular level.
  • Time Efficiency: An entire HIIT session can last between four and thirty minutes, allowing you to maximize your workouts under limited time.
  • Brain Power: It has been shown to be beneficial to cognitive control and working memory capacity when compared against “trivia, board and computer games” among children.

Cons of HIIT

The only problem with HITT is the need for high levels of motivation to stick with it. Studies have shown that HIIT significantly increased endorphin and opioid peptide production in the brain areas controlling pain and emotions. Despite the higher endorphin release, HIIT has induced negative feelings. In contrast, one-hour of steady aerobic exercise did not induce significant endorphin-release but increased pleasurable feelings and euphoria. The increased negative feelings and pain associated with HITT in order to go through the physically demanding workout can discourage further exercise. 

HIIT Exercises

There are many exercises that can be done through a HITT method. For instance, you can use the bike, treadmill, or elliptical to do HIIT. You can do a HIIT workout without having to deal with any equipment as well. Check out these HIIT exercises and the videos:

  • Alternating Toe Touch: Exercise for your core area.
  • Back Kicks: Great exercise for the legs and heart.
  • Bleacher Runs: Great exercise for your legs.
  • Burpees: A high-intensity exercise that engages your arms, shoulders, chest, abs, lower back, legs, and glutes. They accelerate your metabolism, help you burn more calories, and increase your stamina.
  • Front Lunges: Wonderful for strengthening and sculpting not only the legs but the glutes, while engaging the core muscles.
  • Horizontal Jumps: This plyometric exercise involves an all-out effort while jumping forward to help you become more athletic, build more muscle, and burn more fat.
  • Mountain Climbers with a Twist: great whole-body exercise that engages your abs, legs, arms, shoulders, and butt muscles.
  • Plank Jacks: This ab exercise also accelerates your metabolism and gets you leaner and more agile.
  • Plank Kick to Crunch: This plank variation is an ab exercise that also targets the lower back, lower and upper body. It’s a whole-body exercise that accelerates your metabolism and gets you stronger.
  • Plyo Spider Lunges: This plyometric exercise targets the whole body, legs, the upper body, and the core.
  • Pushups: Great compound exercise that activates most muscles. Primordially, it challenges the chest muscles.  In addition, triceps, shoulders, biceps, and core muscles are engaged, with the stabilizing help of the lower body.
  • Reverse Lunges: Multifunctional exercise that stimulates numerous muscles and can be applied for diverse goals. It challenges your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and even your core muscles.
  • Side Lunges: They build strength as well as flexibility on the quads, abductors, adductors, glutes, and calves. At the same time, side lunges engage the core and stabilizing muscles.
  • Side Planks: Great exercise for the abs, obliques, and even lower back.
  • Single-Leg Deadlift to Jump: A plyometric move to help you be more agile and strengthen your legs.
  • Sit-ups: Awesome for your core. They strengthen the ab and lower back muscles. Stronger core muscles help alleviate and even prevent back pain and injuries.
  • Squats: A total body exercise, are amazing for you. Squats have huge and multiple benefits. They are one of the best exercises to strengthen and sculpt your legs and glutes but pretty much work the whole body.
  • Start Jumps: The star jump is a cardio exercise that accelerates your metabolism and helps you to get leaner and agile.
  • Tricep Bench Dips: The dip targets the back of the arms — a great tricep exercise, which can be done on any park bench.
  • Tuck Jumps: Great plyometric exercise that challenges your heart and legs.

HIIT Workout Routine

You can tax your body in 5 to 20 minutes. You can start with a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, 30–40 seconds of sprinting or jogging alternated with 15–20 seconds of jogging or walking. Or you can use any of the regimens described above. You can also choose a few exercises and perform them one after another with short rest intervals. Here is an example of a 10-minute outside HIIT workout routine:

Set 1: 5.25 minutes

Set 2: 5.25 minutes

You can alternate your HIIT outside workout by doing jogging or biking one day in a HIIT fashion along with some of the HIIT exercises to develop a HIIT workout routine like the ones exemplified above. Don’t forget to switch up your routines, engaging in strength training and cardio for at least 4 times a week. If needed, you can get an online coach to help you with meal planning or a more guided training routine according to your body and goals. Feel free to check out 28 Days to a New Life to incorporate a holistic approach.

There are many benefits of high-intensity interval training. Now that you have a list of HIIT exercises and a HIIT workout routine, you can achieve the body you deserve while remaining healthy.

Lift, Burn more Fat, Get Stronger, and Live Healthier!

To a Fitter Healthier You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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