Fear not, this isn’t a follow up to “No Woman, No Cry” (even though you’ve just tried to sing “No Gym, No Problem” to the tune in a Jamaican accent). After a few years of weight training at the gym, I decided to start mixing up my training and have been adding high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you spend longer than 5 minutes on social media, it’s hard not to hear about HIIT. It’s all the rage these days, alongside other current trends like Tamagotchi’s and The Corrs. They’re both still cool, right?
What is HIIT?
Simply put, HIIT is a form of exercise in which you alternate between intense anaerobic periods (maximum effort) to increase heart rate, and recovery periods to allow your heart rate to return to normal. There’s no right or wrong training to rest splits, but if you’re a beginner then 30 seconds exercise with 45-60 seconds rest is a good starting point. The beauty of it is that after 15-20 minutes, you’re done!
Is HIIT the definitive answer to your body composition prayers? No, it’s not – it is, however, a great bit of ammo in your arsenal to help burn fat. The best way to go is to implement an effective training programme alongside a balanced, sustainable diet which allows you to have a healthy relationship with food.
The beauty of HIIT is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. You don’t need a gym. You don’t necessarily need equipment. You don’t need money. You don’t need outdoor space. For me, you can’t beat training outside. Getting a bit muddy is part of the appeal, but that’s probably just the childish side of me – the only downside being now I’m an adult I have to do my own washing.
All you really need is a timer (old school stopwatch or phone), and a bit of space to move around in. That’s it.
When performing HIIT, you can either repeat certain exercises, or work through a complete list of different ones. Some of my favourites (I use that term loosely) are:
· Burpees – A killer wherever you do them, and HIIT wouldn’t be HIIT without them.
· Pull Ups – Plenty of public parks have these bars dotted around.
· Press Ups – Either standard press ups on the floor, or put your feet on a bench while you’re doing them for an alternative.
· Hill Sprints – Sprinting up a hill isn’t exactly fun, but it’ll get your heart racing
Warm up and stretches (don’t skip this!): 5 minutes
Work: 40 seconds
Rest: 20 seconds
High knee sprints on the spot or hill sprints
Alternate jump lunges