High Intensity Interval Training: 3 Efficient Methods to Lose Weight Rapidly, Get Extra Fit and Reshape Your Body

Editor’s note: this post was written by Erich Eisenhart.

box jumps“3… 2…. 1… Stop! Nice one man!”

I looked over to my buddy Renzo and he chuckled, wiping the sweat from his eyebrows.

He then said, “I’m so glad we decided to try this, Erich! I feel like I’ve just exercised for an hour and we’ve been here for 10 minutes. Talk about a flood of endorphins!”

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With the sun out and shining all weekend, my friend and I decided to catch some rays and play Frisbee at the park. After 20 minutes or so, we were embarrassed to find that we were both out of breath and getting tired!

As a varsity track athlete in high school, I felt shocked about the state of my fitness. What the heck had happened?

In an attempt to improve our strength (and, let’s be honest, to impress the ladies), we searched for the quickest, most effective way to reshape our bodies. With the semester in full force, time was a luxury we simply did not have. We were very critical with our search criteria to find the most efficient workout regime.

After extensive exploration I stumbled upon a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine. I curiously peered over what I now know as the Tabata protocol and thought, “yeah, right; there’s no way a four minute exercise cycle can produce these results.” The science seemed legitimate though, so I wrote out the workout cycle and headed to the gym.

Once in the weight room, Renzo and I decided to take a look at our tough, yet tiny routine:

  1. 20 seconds of all-out push-ups or box jumps
  2. 10 seconds of rest and catching our breath
  3. Repeated, 7 more times, for a total of 4 minutes.

“Let’s just do it. How hard could 4 minutes possibly be?”, I asked. Incredibly, we were working up a sweat halfway through! After 3 minutes had passed I started feeling exhausted, but pushed through to finish the workout strong.

Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised. We had executed an efficient, yet effective, HIIT protocol in 10 minutes!

The best part hit us as we started a cool down jog on the track. Our endorphins (feel-good hormones) had shot through the roof, and we left the gym with smiles.

After an initial 3 minute warm up, a 4 minute HIIT cycle, and a 3 minute cool down, I headed home to rest and make one of Phil’s delicious smoothies.

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Do you ever feel as if you have the drive to exercise, yet are unable to find sufficient time to reach your fitness goals?

There is a solution: High Intensity Interval Training

A HIIT routine can be put together quickly, conducted quickly, and best of all, it will change your body quickly.

THE BENEFITS:

Here’s an equation that represents the general method of a HIIT regime:

Short intervals of maximal physical effort + periods of rest = a speedy, superb workout

HIIT1

High intensity interval training methods involve alternating work and rest patterns that allow for maximum weight loss and body transformation.

Readers be warned: these methods are intense. Though these routines will deliver the results you desire, they are challenging. Work at your own pace and increase the intensity as you need to.

 


TIPS FOR SUCCESS:

  • Pick a method and aim to complete a workout 3-4 times a week.
  • Focus on your breath. Inhale and exhale completely to provide adequate oxygen to your working body.
  • If you are new to this type of exercise, I recommend starting out with the easiest method and moving up in difficulty as you feel ready.
  • Here are three popular methods of HIIT, in order of increasing difficulty:

Timmons Method – Good for an effective and enjoyable workout:

Total Workout Time: 15 minutes

  1. Warm up for 3 minutes
  2. Pick an aerobic exercise (running, biking, swimming, etc.)
    • Exercise in desired method for 2 minutes gently
    • After 2 minutes, commence all-out effort for 20 seconds
    • Repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 sets
  3. Cool down for another 3 minutes

Gibala Method – Good for an intense, thorough burn that delivers rapid results:

Total Workout Time: 21-24 minutes:

  1. Warm up for 3 minutes
  2. Pick an aerobic exercise (stationary biking, stair running, rowing, etc.)
    • Execute intense effort for 50 seconds
    • Rest for 60 seconds
    • Repeat for 8-10 sets
  3. Cool down for 3 minutes

Tabata Protocol – Exercisers beware, this kick-ass routine will put you on your butt:

Total Workout Time: 10 minutes

  1. Warm up for 3 minutes
  2. Pick an aerobic or anaerobic (pushups, squats, box jumps, etc.) exercise
    • Perform 20 seconds of all-out effort (really, give it your all)
    • Rest for 10 seconds
    • Repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 sets
  3. Cool down for 3 minutes

Thoroughly warming up before each exercise will allow your muscles and mind to prepare for the task ahead. I learned to apply myself more fully during workouts with Phil’s article on how to use Jedi minds tricks to get in the zone.

Similarly, cooling down allows for a smooth transition out of the workout, as your heart and lungs gain a chance to recover.

By practicing these cycles you’ll be just weeks away from that beach body!
Hey, you never know who could be admiring your physique  ;)

running on beachThere you have it, folks! Though HIIT presents a rigorous challenge, the benefits are immense. Remember: you get out what you put into it. So work hard, believe in yourself, and you will achieve your fitness goals.

Have you ever had an experience with HIIT? What are your favorite aerobic and anaerobic exercises? Feel free to comment below!

 

About the author:

Erich Eisenhart. Student. Runner. Seeker. Friend. (Aspiring) Blogger. Explorer. Animal. I have accepted my innate genius, and am fully committed to helping others unveil theirs. Join me at giftedbeing.com

 

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Posted on : 24, Apr 2013

13 Comments

  • Hey!

    Great article Erich!
    I’m just wondering what you mean by “cool down”? Is it to just relax? Stretch? Low intensity exercises?

    Also, I did try the tabata method a few years ago and was planning on going at it again soon. Your article comes as a sign and I will find time in my schedule to put some tabata session soon (after the race I’m doing next week… don’t want to exhaust any muscles before a Tough Mudder race :D)

    When I used to do tabata, I used it with multiple exercises:
    20sec squats / rest / 20s biceps curl / rest / 20ses crunches / rest /… and I don’t remember the 4th exercise. I did this circuit twice.
    So i’m not sur this really fitswith the guidelines of the method… still, the benefits for my little heart must have been there.

    I’ll try and do a one-exercise Tabata session.

    Also I remember reading somewhere that the idea was to do the 8 sets for an exercice then do 8 sets for another one… etc. without any pause inbetween. The idea was to work out different muscle groups. What do you think of that?

    Thanks for this article!
    Take care
    Gilles

    • Gilles,

      Thanks for the comment :)

      Cooling down usually entails a low intensity exercise such as jogging. Stretching comes in handy after a workout as well to lock in benefits.

      Very nice! Tabata can be very difficult but I’m glad to hear you’re well versed with it! Your method of using four exercises does pay off, though you probably won’t receive focused benefits in a specific muscle group. Using four exercises leads to an all around burn ;)

      I think choosing two exercises (push ups, tuck jumps) with the Tabata works best. I don’t quite understand skipping the rest, you’ll have to forgive me with that one.

      I am so glad this article was of use to you!

      Peace and light to you,
      Erich

  • Great article Erich! I’ve been doing short + intense workouts with kettlebells and getting great results in ~20-25 minut workouts. HIIT is for real.

    Cheers!
    Phil

  • Hey Phil there is na great chanel on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/Under21convention07 check it out its realy great .Cheers

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