How High Intensity Intervals (HIIT) Changed My Life

About 3 years ago I was at my heaviest weight as an adult. The surprise, I was running about 15 miles a week and doing power yoga about 2 days a week. The inspiration for me to re-evaluate what I was doing for fitness was seeing a picture of myself at that weight. I was baffled by why I continued to gain weight despite my general healthy diet and more than average exercise. I started doing some research and kept running into this thing called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and another similar approach called TABATA. So I began doing those types of workouts for my cardio and completely stopped running. 3 years later, I am fitter and at the lowest body fat than I have ever been in my entire life! I don't miss those hours and hours of running at all! 

The concept behind HIIT and TABATA is based on using the most efficient way to gain cardiovascular fitness and also to amp up the metabolism in your body. By working as hard as you can in a short period of time (usually 20-40 seconds), you can force your body to transition to anaerobic work and start having to turn to body fat to continue to fuel the workout. You basically blast through your stored glucose so fast that your body enters a kind of "emergency mode" and starts releasing fat to help restore some of that energy. 

What is even better about doing HIIT style cardio workouts is that you don't have to workout as many days a week and for as long. Save time? Yes, please! The American College of Sports medicine advises that if you are doing vigorous cardio, that you only need to workout out 3 days a week for 20 minutes (versus the recommended 30-minute moderate cardio workout 5 days a week recommendation). 

Why is cardio so important? Because it works the one muscle you can't work with weights, your heart. This muscle is the most important muscle you have! So many people avoid cardio like the plague because especially if you are out of shape, it causes some very uncomfortable sensations. Being very out of breath, sweaty, and even feeling a bit weak and woozy is not fun for most people. 

Getting in good cardiovascular shape has a long list of benefits including but not limited to:

weight loss

stronger and more resilient heart and lungs

increased metabolism

increased bone density

reduced stress

better sleep

improved mood

decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

Remember, you have to work as hard and fast as you can for the work periods. That means as many reps as you can. You are not "pacing yourself". You are going as hard and as fast as possible (while still staying safe and watching your form).  Here is an example of one of my favorite HIIT Cardio Routines. 

HIIT Cardio

Jumping Jacks 20 seconds

10-second rest

Jump Rope 20 seconds

10-second rest

Burpees 20 seconds

10 seconds rest

High Knee Run 20 seconds

10-second rest

Squat Jumps 20 seconds

10-second rest

Ski Jumpers 20 seconds

1-minute rest. End of Round 1. Repeat. 

This is set one. Six exercises for a total of about three minutes. A good HIIT workout is 10-20 minutes depending on your fitness level. Repeat the sets with a minute rest in between each set. If you are just starting your fitness journey, make the rest periods a bit longer. For example instead of 10 seconds make it 20 seconds. Start where you need to then increase the intensity as you get more fit and I guarantee you that consistently doing HIIT cardio workouts will get you fitter, faster! 

And guess what? Every single Fire Team Whiskey Workout is a HIIT workout! Enlist with our Program and get on the path to experiencing the benefits of this life changing fitness approach! 


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