HIIT or Miss

Posted: April 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Recently, I have been feeling a little bit frustrated with workouts. That doesn't mean that I am not enjoying my current workout schedule by any means. I actually am loving it because I know it fits my goals right now. And, most days, I like not having to plan routines or find ways to make cardio more interesting. However, sometimes while reading other blogs that discuss their interval workouts, heavier lifting, group fitness training, Insanity workouts, or even sometimes the prevalence of running in blogworld, it leaves me longing for more.


I miss these types of workouts. I miss feeling spent and like I totally killed a workout. I miss feeling like I have accomplished something or progressed in something fitness-wise. And I miss trying out new things. Well, thank goodness for yoga as something new to try in the "Do What You Don't" challenge. Well, just because I miss these types of workouts doesn't mean you have to. I definitely think they are beneficial to be added into your training. Let's learn a little more about the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training today.

High Intensity Inteval Training - aka HIIT is a form of cardiovascular training where you alternate high intensity burst with recovery periods.

Sample Interval Training Chart

For true, HIIT, your working intervals are around 20-30 seconds where your heart rate gets to about 90% of your max, or a 9-10 on the RPE (Rate of Perceived Extension) scale. You should feel like you could not push a second more at then end of the high intensity part of the interval. It is then followed with an average of 40-90 seconds of active recovery to decrease your heart rate to about 70% of your maximum, or a 5-6 on the RPE scale, before you repeat the process. You will continue alternating between the two for a total of about 20-30 minutes. Be sure a proper warmup and cooldown are included. The benefits of HIIT are:

  • Trains both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Think of it being able to help both sprinting and long distance runs.
  • Increases your calorie burn both during and after your workout. On average you are working harder than a steady state session, even though the intense intervals are a shorter portion of the workout. Also, you will  have more post workout burn from your body taking longer to recover.
  • Can help limit muscle loss because of the shorter duration and, in layman's terms, the high intensity relies on more muscle fibers firing to promote burning glucose and fat as fuel instead of lean mass.
  • Easy to vary your workouts. You can do so many different ratios for your intervals to make it something new almost every workout. You can do 30 seconds work and 60 seconds rest. Or 30 of each. Or 1 min of each (although longer intervals won't be as intense as shorter ones). Or you can do a pyramid set up of 15 sec, then 20 seconds, then 30, then 45, then 60 of work and go back down.
  • Makes your workout fun. These workouts are tough, but having to constantly switch up what you are doing makes them seem to FLY by. And who doesn't like that? 😉

For a lot of great HIIT workout ideas, check out Janetha's, Naomi's, and Lisa's blogs. They incorporate this type of training regularly and always have fun ideas. And I have been stockpiling their routines to save for the day I can run my tail off with some intervals. Until then, I will live vicariously through all of you and your inspiring workouts. No point in possibly hindering my goal thanks to my body being more sensitive than most.

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29 Comments to “HIIT or Miss”
  1. Ameena says:

    I really want to add some HIIT back into my workouts but it isn’t easy with an injured knee. But I agree that time really flies when you do these types of workouts.

  2. lisaou11 says:

    i love that you mentioned about TRUE hiit being 20-30 seconds.. I find that just TOO intense sometimes and I honestly only do that maybe once every two weeks. my other workouts are more high intensity, but not nec. HIIT ya know?

    You are doing the right thing for YOU right now. eventually you will be able to get back to the workouts you love! and when you do, you will prob start to miss these “more relaxed” workouts!

  3. Heather says:

    i really appreciate your HIIT tips – definitely not for me, but i know those types of workouts are great for others!

  4. Heather says:

    I love HIIT! My husband and I used to do this 1-2 a week during last summer. Now I’m glad if I get it in once a month.

  5. homecookedem says:

    I just started doing more of these workouts in the past 2 weeks and it is sooooo much harder for me than working out moderately for an hour. But, I can tell it’s better for me fitness-wise, so I’m trying to hang in there to reach my goals. But I definitely do not think one has to do them to be perfectly fit and healthy. Keep doing yoga because yoga has endless benefits for the mind, body, and SOUL!! 🙂 Do you read Polly’s blog – Yoga is Yummy? If not, you should check her out, I’m positive you’d love her blog! 😉

    • Tina says:

      Oh I agree that you don’t need to do them to be fit. I just LOVE them! And I am enjoying getting into yoga more so I will be sure to keep up with it. 🙂

  6. Therese says:

    Trying to have another beautiful little one running around is way more important momma! But I don’t blame you for missing it. For a while I got so caught up in “running because everyone in the blogworld does it” but to be honest, I don’t really like it!

    When the hubbie and I finally decide to start trying I will absolutely scale back on the exercise.

    • Tina says:

      Definitely more important right now for us. And I would say 90% of the time I am cool with it. But I sure do still have those days where I miss things or wish I were smaller or whatever. Those days frustrate me. LOL

  7. I totally know what you mean about the workout thing. I love HIIT style and interval workouts. The time seems to fly by b/c it’s broken down into short, seemingly manageable segments. Great info (as usual)!

  8. I absolutely LOVE HIIT!! So glad you did this post because even though I do HIIT often, I didn’t know some of the information above.

    One of the reasons I love HIIT so much is because it allows me to run in a way that’s comfortable for me. In other words, even since I was a kid, I was a SPRINTER – not a long distance runner. So HIIT allows me to work my running skills without feeling like a “failure.” Rather, I feel accomplished for how far I can push my body!

  9. Jennifer Rahn says:

    How do you keep yourself feeling positive about your body image? I’m in a similar position to yours; I had to gain 20 pounds and cut way back on my running in order to conceive my first baby; now I’ve put the weight back on and am cutting back the exercise in order to get ready to conceive my second baby.
    Most of the time, I am good at positive self-talk in order to keep my mind on the right goal, but sometimes I just look in the mirror and want to cry, or read about long runs and want to cry.
    Do you have any sage advice for getting through this TTC time?

  10. Nelly says:

    my husband just started this! 20 sec sprint 10 sec off for 8 rounds….only 4 minutes but its crazy hard!

  11. lessonstolearn says:

    Sounds great, but I’ll think I’ll have to save those tips for after my baby is born. That’s intense! I’m still running, and today ran for quite a long time, but I am running slow and steady. No sprints for me right now. I will save these tips for later though.

  12. I love HIIT – it feels like such an accomplishment once you’re done. And I find it’s easier to motivate myself to workout with intervals 🙂

  13. Jennifer says:

    Man Tina me and you were on the same wave length of thinking today. I just did a post on circuit training which is a lot like doing intervals because it has intense cardio mixed in with strength training and abs. Thanks for this post. I agree so much with you on wanting to leave a workout feeling like you killed it. When it comes to exercise I am without a doubt a go big or go home type of girl.

  14. Yes trainers who walk around clueless/unhelpful/lazy are so infuriating, per your comment to me!

    Glad that you’re taking up yoga and getting more serious! I always come back to yoga (not like i ever “leave” it) but I add in other things, challenges, goals, etc to keep it fresh. You just have to. Cant wait to hear more!

  15. janetha says:

    thanks for the shout out! you know i loooove me some HIIT.

  16. Genie says:

    Oh geez! I don’t remember the last time I did HIIT! I actually enjoy it, so thanks for the reminder. For the most part, I despise cardio.

  17. Vee says:

    Oh, I am a big HIIT fan. You are such a fit person and I know that you will smash it big time once you go back into it. It will hurt, but it will be that insanely fun pain we all learned to love. Good luck with yoga, I actually miss now I don’t practice it as often as I used to (it grew on me :-)).

  18. Danielle says:

    I’ve heard that HIIT training is good for marathon runners because it makes you faster/more efficient. (It never really appealed to me because I don’t really care how fast I am or what place I get.) But I really like some of the points you made! Especially the one about limiting muscle loss 🙂

  19. healthyGLAM says:

    Ahh thanks for explaining HIIT to me! Ive seen it on so many blogs and never realized what it was all about 🙂 I feel like I’m live vicariously through other blogger’s workouts too haha, I want to try so many things!

  20. Ohhh HIIT! I love it because it’s short. I hate it because it HURTS!

  21. sophia says:

    I read other bloggers workouts, and it’s so intense compared to my few miles around the block. But my workout is best suited for my condition right now, so I’ll enjoy it while I can! 🙂

  22. lauradishes says:

    Oh gosh, I haven’t pushed myself during a solo workout in a long time. I would love to ween myself off of relying on group fitness/yoga classes, but for now, they seem to do the trick. But, there’s nothing like challenging yourself and the feeling that comes when you’re done with a hard workout!

    • Tina says:

      Yep, that’s where I am…group classes are doing the trick right now, but I do miss all the variety and extra challenge of doing my own workouts. We all have to do what works for us, though. 🙂

  23. jR says:

    Hey – thx for visiting our blog…had to come visit yours too.

    I’m new to HIIT workouts. We just got TurboFire a short time ago and I LOVE the HIIT workouts. In fact, tonight we’re doing a group workout with some friends and we’re doing a 30 min HIIT. They seem to go by so much faster than other cardio…I think it’s because of the intervals and being able to go “ok, I only have x amount of intervals left, I can do this!” as opposed to looking at a countdown of say 20 min left till the end of the workout (ugh). haha

    I haven’t done Insanity, but know some friends who are interested. Not sure I could go that hard haha Wait, let me rephrase…not sure I WANT to go that hard LOL :o)

    ~jR (Mind, Body & Cupcakes)

    • Tina says:

      I have the same mentality with intervals and counting them down instead of total time! Mind games like that sure help with cardio. 😉

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