High Intensity Interval Training – Anabolicshop.co.za

High-Intensity Interval Training



High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is considered one of the most effective ways of training to burn fat. In HIIT you actually alternate between bursts of intense exertion (such as sprinting) and periods of relatively low-intensity exercise (like jogging or power walking). This way, you are switching from your anaerobic energy system to your aerobic system and back; switching between burning energy stored in your blood and muscles and energy stored as fat. 


But what makes this so effective is what happens after the anaerobic training. When you exert yourself maximally by sprinting or exercising otherwise at 100%, you deplete any energy that might have been available from sources other than fat. This then means that following that, your body can only burn fat for energy – there is no other option remaining.


Thus, you will then burn even more fat during the aerobic portions of the exercise. And when you finish and go home, you will continue to burn fat stores because you’ll still be low on stored glycogen. This is what some people refer to as the ‘after burn effect’ and it means that after an intensive session of HIIT, you can continue to burn more calories for the entire remainder of the day!


Typically, a HIIT session can last between 10-20 minutes and be just as effective in terms of calories burned as a 40-minute run. For those who have a busy and hectic work schedule, HIIT training is the ideal solution and allow them to squeeze in a few short minutes of highly effective training to get amazing results!


When looking at any type of training program, what’s always useful to keep in mind is the SAID principle. This means ‘Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands’ – it means that your body changes to adapt to the demands placed on it. If you train at altitude, you become better at training at altitude. If you jog, you become better at jogging. 


Thus, HIIT makes you better at high-intensity activities – which include sprinting, running, rowing, boxing, wrestling, play fighting, sports, moving furniture and more. These are things we are much more likely to utilize in our daily lives and that makes this a more adaptive and useful form of training. Whereas steady-state cardio makes you more effective at ‘long slogs’, HIIT makes you explosive and athletic.


How to Start HIIT Training

Before you start pushing yourself to your cardiovascular limit, it’s a good idea to first build up that basic level of fitness that will prevent you from shocking your heart too much. Right now, you might be thinking that you don’t need to worry about this and that it’s not likely you’re going to suffer heart problems. Even if you’re not worried though, building this basic level of fitness is important for your ability to stick with an intense HIIT workout. 


This is the mistake that too many people make – they launch straight into their training and hope that they’ll be able to keep up a pace that is far above what they find ‘comfortable’. The belief is that you need to be pushing beyond your comfort levels in order to lose weight.


But what actually happens is that you end up hating exercise and dreading your workouts. The result is that you’ll find yourself putting it off and unable to take part unless you’re feeling your very best. In no time at all, your training falls by the wayside and you give up!


Example of a Beginner HIIT routine


Jog for 2 minutes 

Sprint for 10 seconds 


Repeat this five times. It sounds very easy but you’ll quickly find that just 10 seconds of sprinting is more than enough to completely exhaust you. By the time you’re finished, you’ll be completely exhausted and you’ll feel as though you can’t perform another 2-minute jogging session. 


Finish this with a 10 minute cool down.


The entire workout will take you 12 minutes but you’ll find you’re easily as tired (if not more tired) than you would have been after jogging at a steady state for 30-40 minutes! Moreover, this is enough to trigger the after burn effect and to leave you burning calories for hours afterwards


Because this type of training is so fast, you can afford to do this 2 or 3 times a week. Once you start to become more confident, you can then move on to the next step up: 


Jog for 2 minutes 

Sprint for 30 seconds 


You can also increase the number of laps to 8 and then ten. 


Eventually, you might be able to work all the way up to: 


Jog for 1 minute 

Sprint for 30 seconds 




Jog for 1 minute 

Sprint for 1 minute


HIIT is amazing, no doubt, but it’s also only one piece of the puzzle. Steady state cardio still has its advantages and is excellent for improving your resting heartrate for example. Likewise, you can use regular weight training in order to build muscle much quicker. Instead of falling in love with each new training method and forgetting the old routines, instead look at how you can combine new information with what you already know to create something even more effective.


In my next article, I will talk about advanced HIIT protocols such as Tabata and Cardio Acceleration. You will receive an email when the next article is up.

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