High Intensity Interval Training

Many of you know what HIIT is… But, for those of you who don’t, I will lay it out for ya.

Before we break this subject down, let’s first discuss my mandatory long-winded disclaimer…

WARNING: Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here (and everywhere on my blog) are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain!

With that gratuitous message out of the way, let us continue…

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is cardio based work that shortens your workout time and intensifies (to say the least) your effort and outcome

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. Basically, it involves:

1. Warm-up: Five minutes at a slow/easy pace to get the blood flowing;
2. Intense Session: 30-60 seconds of breakneck pace on a higher resistant level (if possible);
3. Resting Session: 1-2 minutes of slow/easy pace and resistance;
4. Session Repeat: Go back to Intense Session and repeat both sessions 5-10 times;
Cool Down: Five minutes at a slow/easy pace to get the muscles (and heart) cooled down.

In the past, it was believed that you needed 45+ minutes of cardio training at 65-80% of your maximum predicted heart rate. Combined with 5 minutes of warm-up and cool down, this ends up being an hour or even longer! This HIIT program keeps your workout to potentially under 30 minutes and gives you FAR more bang for your buck. Trainers, doctors, and scientists have done the legwork to prove to us that HIIT does more for increasing your cardiovascular system and in burning calories.

You can use HIIT during most cardio-based exercises. Running, swimming, and biking all work very well. Also, equipment like ellipticals, rowing machines, and VersaClimbers (my favorite) work fantastic utilizing a HIIT method.

I can tell you that my experience is along those lines. I find that HIIT has quickly increased my performance and endurance! You shouldn’t try to do HIIT unless you are already in good shape and have had a recent physical and approval from your physician.

I use periodization in my training routines and switch what I’m doing every two or three months. When I am incorporating HIIT, I do it twice per week and then a single “long” mileage day each week. Depending on what I’m training for, I might do more or less HIIT during my week.

If you are fit and find yourself hitting plateaus in your cardio program, give this a go (at your own risk, obviously).

Do you already do HIIT? What’s your experience been like?

Train safe, and train hard!!!


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About Vaughn Ripley

Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
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  1. Vaughn, you inspired me with this one! I am slightly injured (sore achilles) so have had to back off the hills/intensity in my running for the week (and probably for the next couple). That left me with the energy/recovery capacity to do some sprint intervals on my bike (on the trainer)! I think that probably qualifies as HIT training… http://www.strava.com/activities/82111222 .

    Happy training, and thanks as always for some extra motivation!

    – Andrea

    • And one question — do you really find 5 minutes is enough warmup before going all out? I need at least 10, and preferably 15 before I feel ready…

      • Yes. But, I think it’s person-to-person dependent. If you find ten or even fifteen is better for you, you have to listen to your body. Everyone is different! Thanks for the comment and kind words.


    • Awesome! It truly is my goal to inspire others! You have inspired me a number of times… Now it’s my turn.



  1. […] the same time, I discovered HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which differs in that it is a burst of extremely high intensity. These days, my HIIT routine […]