Fitness in the Keys…High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT Jumping up on wood boxes

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – is big news in the fitness industry and has been for some time because it really works. If you want to get fitter faster, burn calories and see real results (and who doesn’t?), HIIT training is the answer for you.

But…if we are really being honest, it also sounds a little scary too, doesn’t it? Unless you are a seasoned athlete or a veteran of gym-based interval training classes, you probably see those four words and think “definitely NOT for me.”  But, the truth is, HIIT fitness workouts are for you (and everyone else too!). This is why the Cornerstone Team has created a new guide to HIIT, complete with sample workout to get you started.

It all begins with intervals

HIIT High Intensity Interval TrainingStripped down to its most basic description, HIIT is comprised of a short interval of activity alternating with a short interval of recovery.  Most people assume that this type of interval-style training is only for “hard core” fitness enthusiasts or professional athletes. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, most people already engage in some form of lower level interval training during their daily lives without even realizing it.

For instance, yesterday I helped my husband move a few cords of firewood from an old storage shed to a new one (side note: my husband is obsessed with firewood; we move a lot of firewood … and it’s good exercise!).  When my wheelbarrow was full of wood, I had to push it some distance and then up a ramp to the new shed for unloading. My heart was really pumping because the wheelbarrow was heavy, especially when I had to push it up the ramp (in terms of interval training, this was a short interval of activity or work). Then, I took the empty wheelbarrow back to the old shed and refilled it with wood (an interval of active recovery).

If you really think about all the times you follow this “work – rest” pattern during your daily life – whether you are doing chores, engaged in leisure activities or involved in any other activity that gets your body moving – you will realize that you are already doing HIIT at its most basic level.

Take it to the next level

High Intensity Interval TrainingYour body is already used to moving in a pattern of alternating periods of work and recovery.  If you want to realize all the benefits that HIIT training can bring (and there are many including, but not limited to, increased metabolism as well as cardio and strength gains), it’s really not that difficult to take it to the next level.  You just have to do add some intensity.  And, the great thing about intensity is that it’s all relative. What feels intense to one person may not feel that way to another.  The only thing that matters is what feels intense to you!

So, let’s say you are someone who likes to walk for exercise.  You could consider alternating short periods of faster walking (or walking on an incline) with short periods of more relaxed walking. On the other hand, if you are an experienced exerciser and are looking for a challenge, you could alternate periods of intense bodyweight or cardio training (pushups, burpees, running stairs, etc.) with short periods of rest.

Just remember that what feels intense to you in the beginning, may not feel so intense 3 to 6 months later after your body has had time to adapt to the increased effort. Be prepared to up your own ante!

Thanks Cornerstone Clubs and author Theresa Whitcomb.