(Last Updated On: 6th February 2019)

If you feel like you spend hours pounding the treadmill, exercise bike and crosstrainer but still aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, then you may want to consider HIIT. Not only can this method of training apparently cut body fat and increase your metabolism more effectively than standard cardio – but you could also get your workout out of the way in just 20 minutes.

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It involves alternating bursts of high intensity anaerobic exercise, where your body is working at close to its maximum potential, with more moderate intensity recovery periods. A typical example of this could be alternating hard sprinting with light jogging. Sessions can last for anything from 30 minutes of HIIT to just 4 minutes, meaning it’s ideal for people who struggle to find the time to work out. 

Why Does HIIT Work?

It is thought that HIIT works more effectively than standard cardio because it increases the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) for 24 hours after the training session, meaning that you continue to burn more calories and fat even when not exercising. Studies also show that during HIIT training you use 80% of muscles in the body, compared to only using 40% of the muscles when taking part in light cardio such as jogging. 

How Long Should the Intervals Be?

The duration of intervals in a HIIT workout will vary depending the exercise and your level of fitness. You may wish to start on a 1:2 ratio, for example – so 15-20 seconds of sprinting followed by up to 40 seconds of jogging or walking. You can then aim to extend your high intensity period until you are at a 2:1 ratio, meaning 40 seconds of hard sprinting followed by 20 seconds of recovery jogging or walking. 

Example HIIT Training Workout

If you’re interested in taking up HIIT, then here is a typical HIIT routine for the treadmill that you can try out in just 20 minutes .The first few reps may feel easy, but after around three or four you will certainly start to feel the strain. By the end of the session you should feel considerably more exhausted than you would after 45 minutes of jogging on a treadmill. 

  • Warm up jog – 2 minutes
  • Hard sprinting – 30 seconds
  • Light jogging/walking – 1 minute 30 seconds
  • Repeat x 7
  • Cool down jog – 2 minutes
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