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HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Fat Loss

Updated on February 22, 2007

The HIIT Revolution

High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT, Power Cardio- whatever you want to call it, it has become one of the top picks for fitness trainers and is opening doors to fat loss for people everywhere. Why? Because of the following HIIT is right for EVERYONE! Everyone from the experienced bodybuilder to the post baby woman can reap the benefits of HIIT.

The four major benefits of HIIT are:

  1. Burn more calories by elevating your metabolism so you lose fat faster
  2. Increase your power
  3. Increase your speed
  4. Increase your endurance

I know at this point I am probably sounding a like little Richard Simmons trying to get you to jump on the fitness bandwagon- but if there was ever a bang wagon to jump, this would be the one. We all seek better workouts and we all seeks ways to get the most out of our workout (especially in the shortest amount of time) and HIIT can really provide those answers.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

What is HIIT And Why does it Work so Well?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the concept of training in intervals, each interval at a different intensity. Different HIIT programs work best for different people, but everyone can benefit form working out are varying levels of intensity (see example programs below). When you complete a cardiovascular session at an unvarying intensity for the duration of a workout your body enters a 'steady state'. This is a state at which your body has adapted itself to the speed you are going and conserves energy. When you complete HIIT you do not allow your body to enter this state and thus allow yourself to burn more total calories in less time. Also, HIIT training is performed at a high intensity which raises your heart rate faster and raises your metabolism longer after the workout. The overall length of your workout are much briefer in duration than your typical aerobic sessions. Some studies, such as one by Laval University, state that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio helps subjects lose/burn nine times more fat than those who trained the traditional way. It makes you wonder why anyone told you to train at a slow pace for a long period of time!

Example workout:

  1. Pick any type of cardiovascular method (running, swimming, recumbent bike, treadmill, elliptical machine, etc).
  2. Make sure you take some time to warm up to get your body temperature raised before you begin.
  3. Now begin your cardiovascular training at 75% of your maximum ability, stay at this pace for MHR intensity for 30 seconds
  4. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  5. Now raise your intensity to 80% for 30 seconds.
  6. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  7. Now raise your intensity to 85% for 30 seconds.
  8. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  9. Continue to repeat these steps, each time bringing your intensity level up.

The key step to HIIT is not allowing your body to adopt, adapting to a certain level of intensity will allow your body to fall into steady state and it will begin conserving rather than burning fat. Keep changing your pace, and pushing yourself through each interval. No matter what your fitness goals, HIIT is one of the best ways of helping you achieve them. And the variations are endless. You can vary the training parameters (exercise to rest ratio, number of intervals) to make the workouts harder or easier, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. You can also use any number of exrecises for your training, such as cycling, sprinting, treadmill, elliptical trainers, jump rope, rope climbing, hill sprints, and more.

The Scientific Research

A study performed by Jeffery W King, of East Tennessee State University, published May 2001 provided the proof HIIT. The study showed that HIIT increases resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours. This means that not only do HIIT workout increase metaoblism and help burn fat during the workout, but they continue to do so for 24 hours continuing the workout. For the full study follow the link provided below.

The Future of HIIT

Many think that "Fartlek Interval Training" (FIT) is the future of HIIT. While both HIIT and FIT use changes in intensity, tha major difference is that Fartlek training uses a RANDOM changes in both time and intensity. You won't know what is coming, machines will be programed to create random workouts (some aerobic machines are designed to do this already) The Fartlek doesn't give you body (or your mind) any time to adopt, you don't know whether a faster interval or a slower interval is coming, so your metabolism and enegery stay on high!


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  • Beth Montana profile image

    Beth Montana 9 years ago

    I'd never heard of HIIT before reading this article, but when I read this, it sounds interesting and I'll be trying it out this week to see if it works! Thanks for the tip.

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    Chef Bob 9 years ago

    I do interval training frequently and it works. I am a triathlete and get bored easy with long swims,rides or runs. Therefore I have tried HIIT in the gym on a treadmill and also on a Concept 2 rowing ergometer.

    It is essential to warm up for at least 5-10 minutes and then go into your intervals.. If they are short keep the rest between short. I especially enjoy the looks I get when I get off the machines, people look at me as if I was crazy.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

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    Motley Health 9 years ago

    HIIT really does work. HIIT training really has formed the basis of physical training for centuries. Old school military circuit training is essentially HIIT, boxers workout HIT fashion - with periods of intensive activity to mimick 3 minute rounds, followed by rest periods. It is also more interesting. Plodding along at the same slow, steady rate for hours on end can get dull. Varied intensive exercise makes it all more interesting.

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    High Intensity Interval Training 9 years ago

    HIIT definitely works! Melts fat like a frypan in my experience.

  • profile image

    ben30097 9 years ago

    High Intensity Interval Training. I have found HIIT has enabled me to achieve sustained weightloss, and fat reduction. Not only have I've seen the speed up in reduction of inches. HIIT has significantly reduced the amount of time I spend @ the Gym. Be prepared for strange looks from gym members reading magazines while performing cardio. HIIT is the way to go.

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    Terry 9 years ago

    I had never heard of HIT until now. I can see how it would work and I believe I am going to give it a go myself!

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    Mark 9 years ago

    I've just started HIIT. WOW! I really feel like I will lose weight doing this. I recommend a physical exam before starting this as your heart rate will increase dramatically during this workout.

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    James 9 years ago

    Just started HIIT along with my MAX OT workout regiment starting to see rapid results because of it. i belive its one of the best workouts out.

  • doncarlin profile image

    doncarlin 9 years ago from Tempe Arizona

    HIIT does really "hit" the spot when it comes to CV training. I'm doing my own version of HIIT that has finally allowed my to break my plateau.

  • profile image

    HardgainerX 9 years ago

    HIIT is a really great way if you want to speed up your metabolism and burn fat...if for some reason you don't like working out and you want to lose weight...check this site out... they promise you can lose 9 pounds in less than two weeks without boring workouts...

  • profile image

    Macca 8 years ago

    It's true - HIIT definitely works. I've been doing it for 8 weeks so far. The first 4 weeks took over an inch off my waistline. My body fat percentage (measured with calipers) is now around 10% and falling. I finally have a 6 pack and I'm spending less time running.

    Another huge benefit of HIIT is that mass you have gained through heavy weights training is mostly preserved, whereas with distance running you lose a lot of muscle mass.

    HIGHLY recommended if you are capable of pushing yourself hard.

  • profile image

    Steve 8 years ago

    Hi, I agree with you 100%

    I recently wrote an article on how rest intervals matter during workout. Now this is crucial when you want to lose weight or when building muscles.

    You can read it here:

  • profile image

    Diana Johnson 7 years ago

    Sorry but HIT training is common sense to any good trainer. Of course it works, because it's closely akin to what real life physical activity used to be..before modern life. Please gimme a break. This will and has always worked in one way or another. Somebody just marketed it right.

  • profile image 7 years ago

    HIT is without a doubt the best way to lose weight and keep fit. I was doing single joint exercises for years combined with running and could never lose the last 10 pounds of weight on me - ever since I started HIT I've absolutely creamed it in the gym. I've lost that 10 pounds and now have (depending on how much alcohol I drink!) a 6 pack which is so awesome.

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    Jon 7 years ago

    Read an interesting article on combining HIIT with HIT, i.e. intensive interval training and intensive weight training. Apparently this is more effective than just doing HIIT on its own.

  • profile image

    Tim Armstrong 6 years ago

    There is certainly a strong trend at the moment in combining more intensive exercises, both cardio and weight bearing, into fitness workouts. It seems that finally gyms are encouraging their member to really work to get fit rather than just plod along on a treadmill for 30 minutes before hitting the sauna.

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    Nikki 6 years ago

    Couldn't recommend highly enough!

    Coming to the end of week3 of an 8 week HIIT blast, which will hopefull reduce my body fat from about 20-22% to 18% - 15% would be my 'ideal'(im a girl 163cm, 58/59kg). Ive lost a total of about 6 inches of my whole body so far whilst NOT losing the weight/muscle mass ive gained this past 6 months....yet to measure my bodyfat % again, but im seeing definition appearing all over the place....EXCELLENT!

    The intensity is SUCH a buzz, and yes, love the 'you are a crazy lady' looks i get off other gym members!

  • profile image

    hit training 6 years ago

    HIT training is a nice way to keep your muscles and heart in good shape. Cardio and weights make a combination that can take tour body to new heights of fitness. Great Hub.

  • profile image

    fit at home workouts 6 years ago

    I was really amazed to see the results of people when they are opting HIIT. I know one of my client who returned to football field to play for his community team after he was recovered from ligament injury. HIIT trained him like an athlete. results are very great!

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    Eric 6 years ago

    Can you explain more how the body can adapt to a certain speed and "conserve" energy ?

    Isn't it like saying "If you stay at 60mph during 30 minutes, you car will adapt and start conserving fuel" ?

  • profile image

    MEGS 5 years ago


  • workoutdvdworld profile image

    workoutdvdworld 5 years ago from Perth

    I love HIIT! I especially like doing workout DVDs based on HIIT training concepts. My favorite HIIT instructor is Cathe Friedrich. She has an awesome DVD called Intensity, which really id HIIT at its best. Thanks for a great HUB, not sure about those images though! lol!!

  • mikemc007 profile image

    mikemc007 5 years ago

    i personally use HIIT in my own training. I do two types, a short HIIT using 15 seconds sprinting with 30 second rest 6-8 times and a longer HIIT with a jump rope doing 1 minute intervals with 30 seconds rest, again 6-8 times. I also do tabata training using shadow boxing. Check out my post on my HIIT workouts

  • profile image

    Dr. Grove 5 years ago

    I believe HIIT is the only way to get fit and lose weight! Check out my post on the topic at:

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