How do you do HIIT?

earthwalker7's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 8,273

Got to find a way to exercise efficiently, given the crazy finance schedule.
Seems there's a lot of misnomers around HIIT. Every f-ing gym has some version of HIIT, but most of these classes are not actually really HIIT, but rather a re-packaging of that old inefficient aerobic routine. To my understanding true HIIT requires ramping heart-rate up to 90% of max for short durations, with maximum exertion. Example: do aerobike or sprints for 30 seconds, then rest 30 seconds, and repeat for 10 minutes, trying to ramp heart rate up to 90% of max. How do you guys do HIIT?

Comments (39)

Dec 1, 2019

Try Beach Body. They have tons of 30minute to 60 minute HIIT series. It's exactly as you describe, 45-60 seconds on, 15-20 seconds off for the whole routine. Some use dumbells while doing aerobic exercise, some don't. They have varying levels of difficulty. I found the "easy" ones to be quite challenging until you get the stamina down. 21 Day Fix is a good example. Their "Extreme" version is an absolute killer. I wouldn't start there. P90X 30 is a favorite of mine.

The guy who does "Insanity" and "Asylum" will kill you. Need to work up to those for sure.

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Dec 1, 2019

Try Beach Body. They have tons of 30minute to 60 minute HIIT series. It's exactly as you describe, 45-60 seconds on, 15-20 seconds off for the whole routine. Some use dumbells while doing aerobic exercise, some don't. They have varying levels of difficulty. I found the "easy" ones to be quite challenging until you get the stamina down. 21 Day Fix is a good example. Their "Extreme" version is an absolute killer. I wouldn't start there. P90X 30 is a favorite of mine.

The guy who does "Insanity" and "Asylum" will kill you. Need to work up to those for sure.

BTW - you can stream them all for a really low annual cost (like $100 or so)

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Dec 1, 2019

If you're on a tight schedule, just cram in working rests in between sets so you never stop moving. ie. Planking, arm circles, etc - probably lots of planking - fists, elbows, scissor kicks, flutter kicks... I've even used 8 count bodybuilders as rest which gets super tiring - airchairs or body squats might be good too as rest -

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 1, 2019

I do 30 sec treadmill intervals sometimes, usually 10x @ 11.4mph 2.0-3.5 grade - full 30 sec rest.

Kickboxing the heavy bag gets my HR up higher than anything else except sparring.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 2, 2019

thanks guys. There's a steep 45" hill next to my apartment that I sometimes sprint up in the morning. Max exertion going up, about 45 seconds. Then walk down, do 5 sets. Is that good HIIT? It's no fun that's for sure. For a while I was doing 30-on 30-off kettlebell exercises, but my joints are getting painful.

Dec 2, 2019

Interval sprints are great!

Dec 2, 2019

Yes that's perfect HIIT but try to jog down instead of walking. It's just about getting your heart rate up and then to keep going at a slower pace while you're exhausted. Forces your body to recuperate while still running.

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Dec 2, 2019

exactly

Dec 2, 2019
Koopdeta:

Yes that's perfect HIIT but try to jog down instead of walking. It's just about getting your heart rate up and then to keep going at a slower pace while you're exhausted. Forces your body to recuperate while still running.

I would advise against jogging down hill too much. The impact is straight to the knees downhill.

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Most Helpful
Dec 2, 2019

Hard disagree with some comments in here.
HIIT is literally just the name, high intensity interval training. High intensity means you are approaching maximum capacity (people argue about numbers here but imagine 80% to 90% of your maximum), followed by rest periods.

So hill sprints that last 45 seconds are not HIIT, neither are 30 seconds on / off for kettlebell exercises. If you can do the exercise / modality for 45 seconds, you are not approaching your max.

The general principle behind HIIT is to emphasize near-maximum effort. The only way to do this is incorporate adequate recovery times. This often necessitates longer workouts. But, the effect is that at the end of a session, you will (for ex) have completed 10 sprints at near max capacity, as opposed to 4 at near-max, 4 at 50%, and 2 at 30%.

Also that Beach Body thing mentioned is not HIIT. That's more akin to a tabata workout, where your time between cycles is very small. This doesn't allow your body a chance to properly recover, and so you aren't operating at a near-max capacity. This is the biggest misnomer re: HIIT these days. Tons of companies / workout plans are basically re-hashing Jane Fonda & Richard Simmons workouts

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Dec 2, 2019
KClubs:

So hill sprints that last 45 seconds are not HIIT, neither are 30 seconds on / off for kettlebell exercises. If you can do the exercise / modality for 45 seconds, you are not approaching your max.

Forgive my ignorance, but how is that not HIIT? My heart rate is def at 90% of max at that point.

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Dec 3, 2019
earthwalker7:
KClubs:

So hill sprints that last 45 seconds are not HIIT, neither are 30 seconds on / off for kettlebell exercises. If you can do the exercise / modality for 45 seconds, you are not approaching your max.

Forgive my ignorance, but how is that not HIIT? My heart rate is def at 90% of max at that point.

No point in getting technical w/ studies and tests etc etc (read: I'm lazy) but, the rationale is that the ratio of work to rest period is off.

  1. 45 seconds is too long to sprint. Rough estimate is that this is likely somewhere between 300 & 400 meters (granted on flat ground). There's lots of discussion about what is the optimal level (ie. do you measure in terms of state the body is in [aerobic or anaerobic / chemical state / blah blah blah] vs. what body produces [meters or seconds of work]), but something like 5-10 seconds would be more reasonable. The question really here is, how many sets of 45 second long sprints could you do? I would guess very few

(And are you really sprinting for 45 seconds? Or do you take 2-5 seconds to speed up and slow down?)

Roughly same principles apply to kettlebells, although not exactly the same due to potential differences in (i) aerobic v anaerobic thresholds for your body (how your body reacts to each activity) and (ii) technique/form (ie. sprinting is more of a natural movement. Kettlebell stuff usually involves a degree of technique. This technique can degrade as we approach failure. Argument to be made on proper form vs. completing the rep. Regardless, sprinting you can measure in terms of time or distance, exercises are usually time and reps. So there are no "good" sprints, but there can be "good" reps...if that makes sense)

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Dec 2, 2019

the only advice I'll give because we could argue about nomenclature and workout schemes all day - get a chest strap heart rate monitor. fitbits and the like are garbage if you want an accurate HR reading during exertion. myzone is the only one I've used and I love it, been around forever, give it a whirl.

these heart rate monitors have an app that shows you exactly what % of your max you are. I use this religiously and not a timer, I work til I'm at where I want to be, taper off, and then when I've gotten to the % I'd call recovered, I start again. no min/max reps, no timing, just go completely off of what my heart is telling me. you'll be surprised what gasses you versus not.

if KBs are rough on the joints try dumbbells. I've found that the "impact" on my elbows and wrists with a dumbbell snatch isn't near what it is with a kettlebell of equal weight.

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Dec 2, 2019

I'm not sure what your goals are, but as someone who knows about fitness, you can be in great shape working out 30 mins a day 5 days a week. I would say about 70% of your success will come from the correct* (for your goals) diet. As far as HIIT and other plans, just do what you enjoy..If you want a higher heart rate, reduce rest breaks...

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Dec 2, 2019

Do yourself a favor and read T-Nation. Btw, I'd add that you can still get a great strength workout in a very short time but HIIT is good if your goal is fat loss. For what it's worth I compete in powerlifting.

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Dec 3, 2019

+1 for T nation lots of great routines on there.

OP have you considered starting strength?

1 hr workout 3 days a week. With a good diet you can reach most goals on that program

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

Dec 3, 2019

Below is what I would buy if I was in IB with a crazy schedule. Get up first thing in the morning and hit this hard as possible then do a ton of pushups and situps.

https://www.roguefitness.com/assault-airbike-and-a...

Dec 3, 2019

As someone who went from being a D-1 athlete to 50 pounds overweight (through stress/finals/first two years on the job), I feel as if I wanna throw in what I did with HIIT.

The hardest part of working out is convincing your body to actually burn fat. If you do simple LISS (low-impact) cardio for a long period of time, you are barely burning anything. Your body slowly burns glycogen, but you are going so slow, your body keeps producing it at almost the same rate you are burning it. Ultimately this leaves you wasting hours at the gym truly burning no fat at all. In fact, LISS cardio produces high levels of cortisol (stress hormone that makes you store more fat) along the way.

There are two key benefits to HIIT:
1. Your body burns glycogen at a rate faster than it can produce (and therefore leads to you to burning fat once your body runs out of glycogen to run off).
2. Due to going from low to high, high to low, and back to low to high heart rate so many times, you confuse your body into thinking this is going to keep happening (resulting in your body burning glycogen/fat loooong after you finish your workout).

What I did to lose 50 pounds and get back into the same shape I was when I was a D1 athlete:
1. Do you workout before your cardio.
2. Make sure you burn as much glycogen as possible during your workout (ie only 30 second breaks between lifts and throwing in supersets if you're more advanced).
3. HIIT sprints on the treadmill once you're done your workout, since you have already depleted all your glycogen stores, and burn almost entirely fat (with a little muscle but that's a fact of cutting). This consists of 45 seconds of sprinting (as close to your top speed as you are comfortable with), followed by 45 seconds of very slow walking. Do this for around 10 minutes or so. Any more and your body will likely start feeling more of the effects from cortisol than from the HGH benefits you are gaining from the HIIT sprints themselves.

Hope this helps someone out there!

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Dec 5, 2019

This is ridiculous.

HIIT doesn't magically make your body burn more calories. As always, weight loss is about ensuring calories in < calories out.

Perhaps HIIT can marginally boost the right side of that identity, but it's always going to be a marginal benefit (5-10%) as compared to any other form of exercise (weightlifting, cardio, recreational sports, etc.)

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  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Dec 27, 2019

Agree with leveraged tiger.
Also, although you've adopted the IB label - from your previous posts it appears you're actually in corporate banking?

So you.... gained >50 pounds from stress in corporate banking!?
LOL made my day

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Dec 3, 2019

Best way is to squeeze two days of workout for Sat and Sun. Even 40 minute goes a long way. The time you might spend on social media.

Lunges, planks, and some ab exercises over HITT are really beneficial tbh. Best thing to do is split between upper body and lower body workout. Sorry couldn't share specific to HITT, but I found this workout regime to be helpful.

Also if you can afford a trainer, highly recommend.

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Dec 3, 2019

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Dec 3, 2019

Don't hire a trainer. Unless you have absolutely no idea what you're doing. Its a complete waste of money. Look at most of the trainers at the gym. Most of them are in undesirable shape. Don't take advice from anyone who can't do it themselves. They are basically getting paid to tell you to workout, instead of you laying there. Put your phone down and jump on that squat rack already.

No. Planks & Abs are definitely not better exercises than HIIT.

Basically disregard everything this guy said. It was just a wasted attempt to get people to comment on his thread.

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Dec 3, 2019

Do a workout you enjoy period. I have tried HITT and it helps you lose weight, only if you are genuinely committed and have a good diet. I just wasn't a fan. It's like some people enjoy running and some don't. I now split my workout between upper and lower body (arms and legs). You'd be surprised how many people can't hold a 1 minute plank interchanged with an ab exercise. Personally doing lunges while holding weights helped tone my legs a lot.

It's all about what you body you are going for. My gym had a one-off where my trainer was part of the package (everyone in the gym). It was a small gym btw. He made me a workout guide to follow. It helped to just have some regime to commit to. He would also push me to go further if I was tired in the last few seconds of a certain exercise. So that motivation/loud voice to keep going helped. I can understand tho why men would have some ego issues to not ask a trainer for help.

Also if maximum leverage would read correctly I said in my original reply sorry I couldn't share info specific to HITT. Cheers!

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Dec 3, 2019

KClubs hit the nail hard on the head in terms of what is classified as HIIT and what isn't. I think though, that OP's point is not necessarily finding out what exactly HIIT is, but rather, finding some type of workout regiment that can be done in 30-45 minutes and be effective enough to get you in shape. Who cares if a "Tabata" workout or some other type of workout will get you in shape - it doesn't have to be HIIT specifically. What matters is that you achieve your goals.

With that being said, here is my favorite cardio workout that is both relatively short and targets both aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular systems:

1) Get on the treadmill
2) 5 mins warm up, i.e. a brisk walk (2-3mph)
3) After 5 min mark, up the speed to 6mph. Jog at this speed for 5 mins.
4) After the 10 min mark, up the speed to 7.5 mph and run at this speed for 1 minute.
5) After that 1 minute at 7.5mph, decrease the speed back down to 6mph (or 5mph, depending on your level of fitness, and jog for 1 minute).
6) After that, up the speed by 0.5mph or by 1mph (again depending on fitness), and run at that speed for another minute. I.e. 8mph or 8.5mph for 1 minute.

Keep repeating until you reach 12-13 mph by going up in 0.5 or 1mph increments. I.e., after every 1 minute of running at the higher speed, rest for 1 minute, and then increase the speed until you reach about 12 or 13 mph. Once you've hit your max speed, revert back to 6mph and jog there for 5-10 minutes as a cool down.

You can adjust the speeds depending upon level of fitness and how hard you want to push yourself.

Dec 3, 2019

I would say focus on actually working a muscle. This means flexion vs extension. For example, take your arm and let it hang. Now curl it up, using the bicep. Work on that, for every muscle group. Also, you don't have to use a lot of weight. Too many people I see in the gym have bad form from using too much weight bc they think that's the way to get strong.

Also, don't worry about time spent in the gym. If you're trying to be Mr. Olympia, yes you need three hours in the gym (and a lot of supplements). If you're trying to say in shape 20 minutes cna be effective.

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Dec 4, 2019

what would an effective 20 minute workout look like?

Dec 9, 2019

I would say two main lifts, and an ancillary lift.

For back: pull downs, bent over rows, curls
Chest: incline chest press, cable crossover, triceps
legs: squat, leg curl, lunges or calves

Dec 3, 2019

One tip I can throw in on sprints, do them on ground (track if you can find it). The reason being that it's much easier to measure some distance once you have a sense of your 100m. Plus you can go all out through the finish without worrying about tripping up on a moving conveyor belt. Also, by using a track, it may allow you to better focus without others staring at you. Your takeoff will be much harder and intense since you need to create the entire force to go from full-stop to full speed in a single instance.

Dec 3, 2019

You know someone knows absolutely nothing about working out if they tell you to do HIIT on a fucking treadmill lmao

Just because you can sleep in a chair doesn't mean you should, idiots.

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Dec 3, 2019

Do not do 30 seconds on 30 off. That's regular interval training, which is commonly mistaken for HIIT.

HIIT would be more like 20-30 seconds as hard as you can with 2-3 minutes break inbetween. You have to completely recover inbetween sets.

Dec 3, 2019
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Dec 27, 2019