Get your summer body fast with HIIT training


APRIL, 2018

One of the most popular fitness trends in recent years has been HIIT. If you haven’t yet tried it, you are missing out. By regularly performing HIIT workouts, our members have shown massive improvements in strength, weight loss and cardiovascular endurance, all within a matter of weeks. Keep reading to find out more on how HIIT can help you get your summer body fast.

What is HIIT training?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and does exactly what it says on the train. Your workout revolves around performing exercises at very high intensity levels, with short breaks throughout. The idea is that you go all-out during the bursts of exercise, and then follow these up with short periods of rest that allow your body to recover just enough to go again.

The science behind HIIT

When you’re performing your exercise at very high intensity, your heart rate will pick up and stay high. Even when you have your rest period, your heart will still be beating quite fast due to the effort you are putting in. Your heart rate will be faster because your body suddenly requires you to take in larger amounts of oxygen.

As such, during your recovery periods, your body is still crying out for oxygen. This effect is known more scientifically as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). This gives you a sustained period of burning off fat and calories. More so than standard aerobic workouts which keep your heart rate lower and more steady for sustained periods.

Why you should incorporate HIIT into your weekly routine

Incorporating HIIT into your weekly workouts gives you access to a number of benefits that you cannot obtain from other exercises. This includes the following.

1. A dramatic boost in metabolism

Performing HIIT causes your metabolic rate to increase dramatically both at the gym and after. This means it gives you fat burning benefits right away, as well as for a long time afterwards. In fact, some studies find that your metabolic rate remains increased for up to 48 hours following HIIT.

2. It’s quick

Oftentimes, the thought of jumping on the treadmill and doing an hour long run is not very appealing. On the flip side, you need far less time spent performing HIIT exercises and can access even greater benefits from it. So, if you’re pushed for time it’s easy to squeeze into your day.

3. It can be done anywhere

Below we will discuss in more depth the ways in which you can incorporate HIIT into your workouts. However, it is safe to say that it is one of the few exercises that can be done anywhere. Including when you’re on the road and don’t have access to a gym environment.

Best ways to perform HIIT

From home

If you are working out from home or on the road, then good HIIT sessions would involve either running or cycling. Here’s a simple plan to follow:

– Run or cycle flat out for 45 seconds to 1 minute
– After, slow your pace right down and feel your heart rate start to slow for 45 seconds
– Repeat this cycle for 30 minutes

If you have access to a hill, then a good running exercise would be the following:

– Run up the hill flat out for 30-45 seconds
– Then, turn around and slowly walk back down for 60 seconds
– Turn and repeat for 20 minutes

One important thing to note is that, even during your rest periods, you should not get comfortable. Before you reach that relaxed state, start running or cycling again.

At the gym

The best place to perform your HIIT workouts is at the gym. You have access to a much broader range of equipment and monitoring tools, which then allow you to better vary your workouts. Here are our top 3 ideas for HIIT workouts you can do at the gym.

At the gym

The best place to perform your HIIT workouts is at the gym. You have access to a much broader range of equipment and monitoring tools, which then allow you to better vary your workouts. Here are our top 3 ideas for HIIT workouts you can do at the gym.

1. Perform a bodyweight circuit

A bodyweight circuit is a great HIIT session as it allows you to exhaust a whole bunch of muscles in your body. Here’s a sample workout that you can vary to suit your needs:

– 50 jump squats
– 40 sit-ups
– 30 push ups
– 20 split jumps
– 10 tricep dips
– 30 seconds of burpees
– 45 seconds rest

It is important that you give 90-100% effort on every exercise to reach the full benefit. Then, during your break, make sure your heart rate doesn’t fully stabilise. If you’re not tired enough after, then incorporate some other exercises or up the rep count on each one.

2. Weights circuit

Performing a weights circuit for your HIIT is a great way to maximise fat loss alongside muscle growth. It is important that you set out space to perform your circuit and get all of the equipment ready ahead of time. Here is a good template for a weights circuit. You should be able to do most of it with similar weights. You should do all 4 sets of each exercise before moving onto the next one. However, you have the flexibility to alter this in any way that fits your goals.

– Do 30 seconds of overhead squats for 4 sets. Have a 30 second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of deadlifts for 4 sets. Have a 30 second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of lunges with alternating dumbbell curls for 4 sets. Have a 30 second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of clean & press for 4 sets. Have a 30 second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of renegade rows for 4 sets. Have a 30 second break between each one.

3. Use the cardio machines

Cardio machines are possibly the best ways to perform HIIT at the gym as they include pre-set workouts that you simply switch on. They will automatically count down how long you should be performing at a certain speed for and then tell you when to take a quick break. Common cardio machines with HIIT programmes built in include treadmills, static bikes and rowing machines. The staff at your gym should be able to help.

Get the most out of your HIIT sessions

The very nature of HIIT training means you can get tired in a shorter period of time than you would whilst doing other exercises. That’s why it’s important you give your body sufficient fuel to sustain your energy levels throughout. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. We recommend consuming a moderate to high carbohydrate meal roughly 3 to 4 hours before starting your workout. This should ensure your body has suitable energy reserves to sustain it throughout. However, try not to eat too much or you’ll make yourself sluggish and require more exercise to burn off the excess calories.

2. Most importantly, you should be sure to consume some form of fuel during your sessions. For this, we recommend Nocco. This is a sugar-free drink that gives you a healthy boost of vitamins and caffeine to help keep you alert and to offset fatigue. They have a variety of different flavours and formulas.


Nocco BCAA Drink at Ultimate Fitness Birmingham

Each one designed to help benefit you whilst performing different forms of exercise. As well as providing you with a boost of energy, they also taste great. At Ultimate Fitness we stock a range of Nocco drinks and will be happy to help you select one best for your workouts.

3. Following your workout, it is important that you have a high carbohydrate snack within one hour of finishing. This will help pick your energy levels back up and stop you from feeling overly tired.

Rounding up

If you’re on a machine at the gym, then you shouldn’t need to worry about timings. However, if you’re doing any of the other circuits then you should use an app like Runloop Seconds Pro in order to track yourself. It is really simple to use and allows you to input your complete workout information, as well as your scheduled timings.

Other than that, it’s time to get to work designing yourself some tailored HIIT workouts that will push you to improve your cardiovascular endurance and improve your strength. If you’re a member at Ultimate Fitness Birmingham, then feel free to come speak to us next time you’re in and we can help you with designing a plan that’s right for you. Or, if you’re not yet a member but live around the Birmingham area, then check out our facility here.


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