Curious about HIIT workouts? Here’s what you need to get started

Health & Wellness

While a HIIT workout might sound perfect, it is not for everyone. Before beginning any type of new exercise regimen, consult with your doctor to make sure it is a safe and effective option for you.

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If you have a busy life but want to get serious about your fitness, one of the best ways to do that is by incorporating a few HIIT workouts into your weekly exercise routine. The main purpose of a HIIT workout is to squeeze the maximum amount of exercise into the smallest amount of time.

It is easy to see if a HIIT workout is right for you because it doesn’t require a gym membership or purchasing expensive gear. You can get started on your path to peak fitness with just a few essential pieces of equipment, such as a good pair of cross-training shoes and a quality yoga mat.

What is a HIIT workout?

HIIT stands for “high-intensity interval training.” If you want to partake in a HIIT workout, all you have to do is alternate short periods of vigorous exercise with short periods of recovery. The current belief is that a 1:1 ratio is the most beneficial. In other words, if you work out hard for 60 seconds, you should take no more than 60 seconds of rest. However, individuals who are just starting a HIIT exercise program may find a 1:3 ratio better. This would mean 30 seconds of intense workout followed by 90 seconds of rest.

In general, a beginner will want to have a HIIT interval ratio goal of 1:2, meaning 20 seconds of intensity, followed by 40 seconds of rest. Remember, you do not need to start at this level. You can gradually build up to it as your body becomes accustomed to this type of workout. You will want to strive for a 1:1 ratio at an intermediate level, meaning 30 seconds of intensity followed by 30 seconds of rest. For the advanced individual, a 2:1 ratio is a good goal. This would mean 40 seconds of intensity followed by just 20 seconds of rest.

What are the benefits of a HIIT workout?

In recent years, HIIT workouts have increased in popularity because of the many documented benefits of this training approach. According to the Mayo Clinic, a HIIT workout burns more calories than other exercise routines. It also allows individuals to “complete an effective workout in less time than a standard cardiovascular workout.” For example, by utilizing a high-intensity interval training approach, you could complete a 60-minute workout in just 45 minutes and receive the same fitness benefits.

Additionally, judiciously adding HIIT workouts to your exercise regimen can help you maintain interest in your exercise sessions while increasing your overall cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

HIIT workouts are effective at any level

While HIIT training aims for maximum intensity for short blasts of time, it is possible to experience benefits at reduced levels of intensity. If walking is your preferred fitness training method, for example, you could walk at your normal pace for 30 seconds and simply increase your speed for the next 30 seconds before slowing back down again for another 30 seconds.

HIIT workout gear

The purpose of a HIIT workout is to get your heart rate up. While that is possible to do without any equipment, here are a few items that can make it easier to reap the benefits of a HIIT workout.

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

Manduka PRO Yoga Mat

It is crucial to have a cushioned surface for your workout. This yoga mat has ultra-thick cushioning to provide comfortable support. It is also manufactured to be slip-resistant for added safety. 

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Fitness Gear Resistance Tube Kit

Fitness Gear Resistance Tube Kit

Adding resistance is a quick and easy way to increase the intensity of an exercise. This resistance system comes with three tubes, two handles and two carabiners. The heavy-duty construction provides increased durability, while the synthetic rubber handles offer a comfortable grip. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Everlast 11-Foot Adjustable Weighted Speed Rope

Everlast 11-Foot Adjustable Weighted Speed Rope

Jumping rope is an excellent way to get your heart pumping. Everlast’s weighted speed rope is 11 feet long and features removable weights in the handles so you can customize the intensity of your workout. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Sunny Health & Fitness Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

Sunny Health & Fitness Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

A kettlebell is a small handheld weight that is suitable for both cardio and strength training. This model from Sunny Health & Fitness features a vinyl coating that increases durability while helping to protect flooring. The flat bottom allows you to perform more exercises and facilitates storage. 

Sold by Amazon

TriggerPoint CORE Foam Roller

TriggerPoint CORE Foam Roller

A foam roller is a self-massage tool that you can use to relieve muscle tightness and alleviate trigger points. This roller is made with EVA foam, has a textured pattern and a rigid hollow core. It is capable of withstanding up to 325 pounds. 

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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