High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is taking the fitness world by storm, and for good reason. HIIT is a form of aerobic fitness training in which a 20-minute routine is widely believed to be more effective than the 45 minutes to an hour normally spent on cardio. By all outward appearances, this isn't just a fad workout destined to go the way of the Shake Weight and Prancercise, it's a legitimate contender when it comes to losing weight, building muscle and improving cardiovascular ability.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is high-intensity interval training, which is interval training taken to the extreme. A HIIT routine consists of intervals of full-intensity exercise punctuated by active rest intervals where the exercise is dialed down to a more manageable level.
Here's what a HIIT routine might look like:
- 5 minute warm-up period. Light cardio.
- 30 seconds of intense exercise. Heavy cardio.
- 1 minute of moderate exercise. Moderate cardio.
- Repeat intervals until 20 minutes have passed.
- 5 minute cool-down period. Light cardio.
The key to a successful HIIT routine is to push as hard as you can during the intense intervals. The moderate intervals are used to catch your breath enough to push hard again in the next intense interval.