High Intensity Interval Training is a hot trend for exercise, and for good reason! Whether it's Orange Theory, RedZone, or other Heart Rate training courses, it's wildly popular across the nation as being a calorie scorching workout that can help with weight loss and muscle tone.
For some, classes are a bit overwhelming or perhaps too long or expensive - but don't let that discourage you from getting a good HIIT workout in at least 3 times per week.
What's so powerful about HIIT is that depending on the model, you can get an amazing heart-protective, calorie scorching workout in as little as 15-20 minutes (if it's Tabata, some studies have shown results in 4 minutes!). Evidence even suggests that with some HIIT, your metabolism can be raised for the following 24 hours, creating an after burn effect for extra calorie burning (Note: don't fall prey to eating extra calories just because you're under the assumption your body is burning more!)
OK so we've chatted just a little bit about why HIIT is awesome - but how on earth do you start out including HIIT when you don't know the first thing about exercise prescription? Well, you could hire someone with an expertise in exercise (ahem!), you could sign up for a class like OrangeTheoryFitness, or - you can find a playlist you love and do-it-yourself!
So you pick option 3 - let's break down how to really design a HIIT workout routine using your favorite playlists!
Step 1. Decide how long you want to exercise, and how many days per week.
Truthfully, it's not advisable to do HIIT workouts every day of every week. The key to HIIT is that it challenges your body, and if you never allow it to rest, you aren't able to get the most out of your workouts. Additionally, your body will get used to the routine, and the results will potentially be less effective (unless you're mixing up that routine!). To start, try 2-3 HIIT workouts per week, and you can mix in other workouts into the week if desired (yoga for flexibility, strength and mobility; strength training; steady-state cardio like a walk).
For time, remember that you can achieve some pretty great results in as little as 15-20 minutes. That's usually pretty do-able for busy individuals! If you're struggling with finding that time, I have tools to help with that as well. Remember, you will want to include 2-5 minutes for warm-up and cool-down!
Step 2. Pick your playlist!
There are many ways you can complete this step. One is to create your own playlist, using either your iTunes/music player or an app like Spotify. Personally, I love Pandora just fine - they add variety, and that keeps me excited and motivated!
When picking your music, it's really helpful to have songs with varying rhythm. That's why pop/electronic/EDM stations can be so great, because the beats change within the song and are usually perfect for a HIIT-style workout. If you make your own playlist with other songs, alternate the songs between fast and slow. My favorite HIIT workout stations on Pandora? The Chainsmokers. However, you can always search "cardio", "workout", etc. and get some pretty great channels.
Step 3. Workout!
This is the most fun step, of course! The varying beat of the playlist will be your guide to the intensity. During the fast segments, you're going to push yourself; during the slower segment, you actively recover.
A note on intensities! Depending on the exercise you are performing, speeds and resistance may vary. Use your own perception of intensity (as described below) instead of focusing on speed, resistance, etc.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 would be you're sitting at rest, 10 is extreme effort.
Active recovery: try to keep moving, and get your intensity around 2-4.
High intensity: try to push yourself, but always listen to your body. Aim for 6-8 on your perception of intensity.
Let's use this song as an example!
The first 30 seconds are slow - use this segment to recover, or get ready to go a bit more intense!
At 0:31, the beat changes and speeds up. Now you will want to push yourself (you can go to the beat if you want!) until the music changes again, around 1:11.
This method of HIIT-driven workouts is great because you're letting the music be your coach, and you're working on intuitively exploring your body's ability.
Have you tried a music-driven HIIT workout before? I'd love to hear what you think! Visit us in our online community to drop a line, or shoot me a message and let me know how it went. I'm cheering for you, babe!
Like this info? Don't forget to share it on your favorite social platforms (like Pinterest!).