HIIT me with your best shot

As summer rolls into fall and the to do list grows infinitely longer, we all find ourselves a bit pressed for time.  I constantly find myself fretting that I won’t have enough time to train for a marathon and have a life (in case you’re wondering, marathon training + work + grad school = boring life).  When time is short and you are not training to conquer 26.2 miles, perhaps you should consider giving high intensity interval training (HIIT for short) a go.  What is HIIT?  I’m glad you asked!  HIIT is actually the science behind the Insanity videos; during the workout, you complete several bursts of high intensity exercise with short periods of rest in between.  The key to the workout is to really push yourself hard during your work intervals.  How hard should you work?  On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is laying on the couch and 10 is running from a dinosaur (not quite sure why I came up with that particular metaphor, but you get the picture), during the intense work intervals, you should be at about a 9.  Rest intervals can be complete rest or active recovery.  One method of doing HIIT was popularized by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher.  With this method, you complete 8 or more cycles consisting of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

In addition to taking less time than some traditional workouts, HIIT has been shown to improve cardiovascular endurance (the ability of your heart and lungs to work efficiently to get oxygen to your brain and body) and increases lean muscle mass.  If you are trying to lose weight, increased lean muscle mass is your best friend since it speeds up your metabolism.

Ready to try HIIT for yourself?  Check out these Tabata workouts!

Running Tabata (this workout uses a 2:1 work to rest ratio)

  • Jog 5 minutes to warm-up
  • Sprint for 30-60 seconds (remember, it should feel like you are running from a dinosaur in Jurassic Park
  • Jog or walk for 15-30 seconds
  • Lather, rinse and repeat for 15 minutes
  • Cool down by jogging for 5 minutes
  • Enjoy the rest of your day

Looking for a total body workout?  Try this video.  And since you didn’t have to spend all day in the gym, you can spend more time on Pinterest!



Posted on September 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Written by

Erin Lumpkins

Erin Lumpkins is a true Blue Michigan Wolverine! She has been a health and physical education specialist for the past 10 years. Erin graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with degrees in athletic medicine, physical education and health education. Currently, she is working to complete a master’s in public health with a concentration in global and community health. As part of the program, she studied at University of Oxford and conducted research on obesity. She is an avid health and fitness enthusiast. She has completed 3 marathons and is addicted to Zumba and belly dancing! She looks forward to sharing her experiences and your stories, so ladies can make this fitness journey together. Follow her on twitter @1908erin.
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