Live Blog: HIIT Chat

This session was captured by Stephanie Oxenford of Athlete at Heart.

Session leader is Larissa Q. Brown of Certified Fitness Geek.  She has a Masters in Exercise Science and holds several fitness certifications.


HIIT became important to Larissa because it gave cardio conditioning in addition to muscle building.

HIIT is described as any workout that hits the vigorous training zone and has recovery time built in.

Does anyone currently use HIIT in training?

  • Running intervals (400s, 800s)
  • Tabata bootcamps
  • Spin classes

Tabata and HIIT have become really big recently.

Benefits of Physical Activity

  • Improved cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased resistance to fatigue
  • Increase good cholesterol
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Reduced insulin needs, improved glucose tolerance
  • Lower rate of death related to coronary artery disease
  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • Lower rate of cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis fractures, colon and breast cancer, and gall bladder disease
  • Improved activities of daily living

HIIT combined with other training – reduces abdominal fat.  You don’t have to work out quite as long to get the same benefits.

Cardio Fitness Guidelines


Estimating Target Intensity

  • There are several different ways to determine your heart rate zone
    • HR Max = 220 – age
    • Gellish et al = 206.9 – (0.67 x age)
    • Tanaka = 208 – (0.7 x age)
  • Conditioning
    • Warm up and cool down should be < 40% or Max HR.
    • Moderate Conditioning should be 40-60%
    • Vigorous Conditioning should be > 60%
  • RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion)
    • Can be just as valuable as heart rate information
    • Especially good for people who have been working out for a while

When you hit your max heart rate you should feel nauseous dizzy.

Environmental factors can make a difference in how you feel (humidity, altitude, etc).

It is good to have multiple tools to measure your training and make sure you are not overtraining.

Benefits of Interval Training

  • Time efficient (75 mins of vigorous activity a week recommended versus 150 mins of moderate)
  • Ability to sustain higher intensities of exercise for longer periods
  • Improved cardio fitness
  • Increased resistance to fatigue
  • Excess Postexercise Oxygen consumption
    • Creates larger oxygen debt than steady state cardio which means you burn more calories for longer after you stop working out.
    • Can burn up to 5x more calories than regular cardio
  • Just a little bit of intervals can make a big difference – can help you get over a plateau or let you see more benefits form your workouts

Work to Rest Ratios

  • Fartleks (speed play) – work:rest ratio determined by RPE
  • Aerobic Ratios (common)
    • 1:1 = 45 seconds work, 45 seconds rest
    • 1:3 = 30 seconds work, 90 seconds rest
  • Heavier/Max Lifts or more Anaerobic Work
    • Requires more rest to recover
    • 1:5 = 10 seconds work, 50 seconds rest
  • Hard/Harder/Hardest
    • 30/20/10 = 30 seconds hard, 20 seconds harder, 10 seconds hardest
      • Do 3 or 4 sequences of 5 minute sets with 2 minutes rest between sets
    • 40/30/20 = 40 secs hard, 20 secs rest, 30 secs harder, 15 secs rest, 20 secs hardest, 10 seconds rest
      • Work up to 6-8 sets with some rest in between.
  • Tabata
    • 2:1 = 20 secs work, 10 secs rest
    • 8 sets, 4 mins, 1 minute rest between exercises

ACSM does not recommend more than 20-25 mins/day of HIIT work.

Start with 1 day, move up to 2. No more than 2-3 days/week with 48-72 hours rest in between.

Hiit doesn’t have to be high impact.

Tabata teaser demo – workout done in session

  • 40/30/20 of burpees (rest intervals are 20/15/10)  hard/harder/hardest
  • Variations of burpee to try
    • Put hands on chair, walk feet out and back, stand, repeat
    • Put hands on chair, jump feet out and back, jump up, repeat
    • Put hands on floor, walk feet out and back, stand, repeat
    • Put hands on floor, jump feet out and back, jump up, repeat
    • Put hands on floor, jump feet out, pushup, jump feet back, jump up, repeat