If you’ve spent any time looking up fitness and training information, there’s no doubt that you’ve come across the HIIT acronym. And you might be wondering about HIIT at the gym.
Indeed, we’ve seen a steady rise in the popularity of high-intensity interval training, and these days, many folks use it to elevate their fitness and health.
But, what is HIIT, what benefits does it offer, and, more importantly, how can we do it in the simplest, safest, and most effective way?
What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
There are quite a few wrong ideas as to what exactly constitutes as high-intensity interval training.
As its name suggests, HIIT is a workout protocol, arranged as short and intense bursts of exercise, followed by periods of recovery between each round. And HIIT at the gym actually works very well and fits in nicely to most overall workout programs.
Now, it’s first important to note. You can do high-intensity training, and you can do interval training, but those don’t necessarily classify as traditional HIIT. To be classified as HIIT, each round you do needs to be at (or near) your limit. And by limit we mean the upper end of your training intensity.
This also means that each round will be relatively short – between 10 and 60 seconds, for the most part.
Three Awesome Benefits of HIIT at the Gym
These are just three of the many amazing benefits HIIT offers:
1. HIIT is Fast and Effective
The most apparent benefit of HIIT is that it’s a quick and effective way of getting a workout in. You can be in and out of your gym in 30 minutes, and have a really impactful workout.
Where most types of exercise take at least forty minutes to deliver significant benefit, you can do six to ten intense rounds with some recovery time in-between, and call it a day.
2. HIIT Burns a Good Deal of Calories
Because HIIT is inherently challenging, it burns a lot of calories. It’s not uncommon to burn upward of 300 calories from a single, challenging session.
Plus, there is a small post-training caloric burn thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which usually lasts for about 24 hours. This is a game changer, as even after you have left the gym and gotten on with your day, you’re still burning calories.
3. It Makes You More Athletic
Due to the nature of it, high-intensity interval training is excellent if you want to build muscle, lose fat, get stronger, increase your endurance, and become faster and more explosive.
10 Minute HIIT Workout at the Gym
This is a simple, 10-minute HIIT workout that will burn a good clip of calories, plus the EPOC effect.
The cycle below is pretty simple: Walk 1 minute, Run 30 seconds — Walk 1 minute, Run 30 seconds — perform this cycle for 10 minutes and you’re done!
Fast Run Below = Treadmill Speed 7.0 – 8.5
Slow Walk = Treadmill Speed 3.0
Treadmill Timer / Activity
- 0:00 – 1:00 Slow Walk / Warm-up
- 1:00 – 1:30 Fast Run
- 1:30 – 2:30 Slow Walk
- 2:30 – 3:00 Fast Run
- 3:00 – 4:00 Slow Walk
- 4:00 – 4:30 Fast Run
- 4:30 – 5:30 Slow Walk
- 5:30 – 6:00 Fast Run
- 6:00 – 7:00 Slow Walk
- 7:00 – 7:30 Fast Run
- 7:30 – 8:30 Slow Walk
- 8:30 – 9:00 Fast Run
- 9:00 – 10:00 Slow Walk / Cool Down
The Simplest and Most Effective Way to Do HIIT at the Gym
There are tons of ways to do HIIT, which is one of the beautiful things about it. But, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll go over one of the most versatile options:
Most of us have access to a gym, or, at least, a treadmill. Doing HIIT at the gym is best done on a treadmill, as most gyms have them, they are easy to work with, and offer the ability to dash or sprint.
Here’s a simple idea to get started:
Warm-up well with some light jogging, a bit of stretch, and some dynamic movements. Then, hop on the treadmill and rotate 30 seconds of fast running or sprinting, followed by minute-long slow walks. Rotate for ten to fifteen minutes and call it a day.
The details of this additional HIIT routine can be found here.
HIIT Safety Precautions
- Always warm-up well before pushing your body hard. This will help lubricate your joints, warm-up your connective tissues, and prevent injuries.
- Don’t push past your limit. Push yourself, and once you notice that you’re losing speed and explosiveness, slow down to recover before the next round.
- Maintain proper technique. Pushing your body to its limits is a great way to get fit, but only if you maintain proper form while you’re at it. So, before thinking about anything else, ensure that your technique is solid.
Don’t overdo it because HIIT is quite stressful, and it takes a fair bit of time to recover adequately. As a rule of thumb, you should start with no more than three weekly sessions with at least 48 hours of recovery in-between.
HIIT at the gym is a great way to achieve an excellent workout on a tight schedule. You can be in and out of the gym in 20 minutes, and have a great workout under your belt for the day. Even better, you’ll burn calories for the next 24 hours as a result of the workout. A great benefit of HIIT.
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