healthfitnessIf you have read any of my Fitn40 posts you would have seen the acronym HIIT. You may have wondered what on earth it is all about. Quite simply, it is short for High Intensity Interval Training– a method of working out. You can see my initial thoughts on it in a previous post.

What is it?
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio that involves intervals of varying intensities, with some of those intensities quite high. A typical HIIT session will involve some bursts of “give-it-all-I’ve-got” training followed by periods of lower intensity that allow for active recovery (this means my body can recover somewhat even though I haven’t completely stopped exercising).

Where can I do it?
Anywhere! I can use a machine as in a treadmill, bike, rower, elliptical trainer or other such things or you can do it while walking around the oval, swimming or jogging. I usually use the exercise bike or the treadmill.

When can I/should I do it?
Anytime is a good time! However, some enthusiasts like to do their HIIT workout before breakfast. I can see how beneficial this might be but it’s usually not viable for me at this time. My daughter loves to do a hard HIIT workout after tea. She says she sleeps like a baby that night.

Why should I do it?

  • The advantages of HIIT training are that I burn more calories in a shorter period of time.
  • It trains my cardiovascular system to work under a heavier stress load. Strengthening my heart is a good thing!
  • HIIT boosts my metabolism for up to 18 hours after the session. Whoohoo! This has to be good! So I can lose weight/burn fat while I sit at the computer.
  • The disadvantage of HIIT is that it is high intensity and therefore requires time to recover. I (along with most other people) can only manage a few (three or four) HIIT sessions per week. HIIT is not beneficial for everyone- especially for those who are on a very restricted calorie intake, which I’m not. It depends upon your needs.
  • It doesn’t take me too long. I can’t stand the thought of working out for hours (boring!) nor am a delighted at the prospect of training to get fit only to spend hours more time working out. HIIT gives me a solid cardio workout in a short amount of time. In a word: Efficiency.
  • I’m able to customise my cardio workout to suit my needs. It can be adapted to suit any fitness level according to the individual’s needs and goals. (Um, why wouldn’t a homeschooler go in for that philosophy? 😉 )
  • It’s about working smarter- not longer.
  • To be a good role model for my children. This not only encourages them to be fit and healthy but also encourages me and my family members to push through – to not give up.

How do I do it?
The HIIT method that I use is detailed in Body for Life by Bill Phillips. It involves a few minutes of warm-up, followed by intervals that last a minute. For example, on the treadmill or bike I might do a minute at 5 miles per hour (mph), then a minute at 6mph, a minute at 7mph, a minute at 8mph, then you drop back down to 5mph and repeat.

Body for Life has some information on it, including a handy chart.


Choose a form of aerobic exercise – walking or running on a treadmill or elliptical machine or biking inside or outside. On a scale of 1 -10, 1 being the easiest and 10 the hardest, start exercising at a level 5 intensity (Your level 5 will be different to my level 5).

1. Minute 1 – warm up at Intensity Level 5
2. Minute 2 -3 – move from Intensity Level 5 to 6
3. Minute 3 – Level 7
4. Minute 4 – Level 8
5. Minute 5 – Level 9 – Give It Everything Minute
6. Minute 6 – Back to Level 6
7. Minute 7 – Level 7
8. Minute 8 – Level 8
9. Minute 9- Level 9 – Give It Everything Minute
10. Minute 10 – Level 6
11. Minute 11 – Level 7
12. Minute 12 – Level 8
13. Minute 13 – Level 9 – Give It Everything Minute
14. Minute 14 – Level 6
15. Minute 15 – Level 7
16. Minute 16 – Level 8
17. Minute 17 – Level 9 – Give It Everything Minute
18. Minute 18 – Level 10 – C’mon, Give me Just One More Minute
19. Minute 19 – Back to Level 5 – Cool down
20. Walk gently while stretching out.

Alternate weight-training and cardio workouts for six consecutive days and rest on the seventh day.

I have a printout which is pinned to the wall, right above the tready and bike- so I can easily keep track of where I need to be. You can download it here, (pdf) from my download section.