HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, a demanding activity that provides fantastic results

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, a demanding activity that provides fantastic results

In this article I am going to focus on HIIT for running, although it’s important to remember that there is still controversy in the fitness world about what is considered HIIT and what isn’t …

Do you want to win the fight against fat?

If the answer is yes, then “high intensity cardio” might be right for you!

You are going to discover a training system which is totally incompatible with laziness, that can become a lethal tool to to improve your build.

In addition, it can end up being tremendously addictive , if you keep up with the rhythm and commit to it…

What is Hiit?

HIIT stands for “High Intensity Interval Training” , High Intensity Interval Training.

A training system that is based on short but very intense aerobic routines, with incomplete recoveries.

Infographic HIIT

Do not confuse HIIT with …

  • HIT or High Intensity Training. It is a training method that became popular in the 70s, but with a focus on bodybuilding or gaining muscle mass.
  • HICT or High Intensity Circuit Training. It has similarities to Hiit, while also including additional components that add extra intensity, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, barbell …

What is hiit

Maximum intensity effort, over very short durations … do you want to give it go?

How does Hiit work?

It is based on using our energy capacity while relying on the phosphagen system and the lactic glycolytic system

Our body resorts to these pathways when it does high intensity exercise for short amounts of time

Hiit puts a great deal of emphasis on these systems , intervening in the metabolism, which in the long run boosts sports performance: efforts that exceed 90% of VO2MAX promote hormonal release (growth hormone, testosterone, catecholamines , endorphins …)

Hiit works

If you want to know more about the Working of Energy Systems , click here

Benefits of Hiit

If we look at the benefits of Hiit , we are fundamentally talking about doing high intensity exercise . The long term changes that we might experience will be related to:

  • Improvement of the VO2MAX , which is one of the best predictive markers of health, especially in the prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased Insulin Sensitivity , muscle tissues will be more receptive to the entry and management of glucose, instead of accumulating it in the adipocyte
  • Fat loss , obviously there should be a correlation here with an adequate diet, but in general terms, the increase in metabolism and caloric expenditure is accentuated, and the mobilisation and use of substrates of acid are better used ( fatty and glycogen)
  • Maintenance of Muscle Mass , short and intense routines, with a high hormonal impact
  • Mitochondrial density , your body’s “ovens” where cellular energy (ATP) is produced. Generating more of these cell organelles promotes greater oxygen consumption capacity
  • Get more done in less time , the effort and workout done during hiit can be compared to almost triple that of a much less intense workout, such as moderate and stationary intensity exercise (MIIS)

Hiit motivational

Pleasant, fun and motivating , as it provides a welcome change when compared with long sessions of other types of cardio

Why should you do Hiit?

Benefits of high intensity cardio workouts

What do you think separates those who achieve good results right away from those who have worked out for a long time without making significant progress? High intensity is the answer. Both weight training and hiit have an effect on stress hormones.

The principle of adaptation

But this is part of your body’s adaptation process . As you increase your hiit sessions, you will start to feel more capable, and activities that used to totally wear you out will suddenly seem much more manageable

Both activities create an intense situation which causes the body to react to adversity : oxygen deficit for the tissues, thermogenesis, reduction of energy reserves, dehydration, low blood glucose, and will cause tissue damage, such as protein degradation

Mind-body connection

The body-mind connection will be reinforced with these workouts, our capacity for suffering will give way to an increase in our physical potential, and it goes without saying that we will stand out from the crowd by doing a very demanding and exhaustive activity that most don’t dare to try .

It’s important that you are physically and mentally capable , to reach the maximum level.

Hiit cardio

This is the main reason why many people shy away from this type of training

Hiit to Burn Fat

One of the benefits of Hiit is the efficiency when it comes to losing fat, avoiding long hours of cardio, although cardio of a longer duration is useful for achieving different objectives …

If you manage to reach, through submaximal efforts, values close to 100% of VO2MAX , this produces definite results and boosts for the body: it promotes the use of stored glycogen more quickly, oxidation of higher fatty acids post exercise, elevation of your metabolic rate, hormonal spikes involved in fat burning …

If you want to know more about the EPOC or Post-Combustion Effect , click here

Hiit for Performance

The performance in this case would be considered in terms of power and strength.

Unlike a long-distance runner, whose objective is to maintain intensity over a long distance, in hiit we seek to do the opposite: maximum intensity for a short period of time .

Hiit performance 1

How to do Hiit?

The intensity of the exercise is inversely proportional to the duration of the exercise

The better athlete we are, the longer we will be able to maintain intensity during a hiit session …

If you want to know What happens to your body in the initial moments of training , click here
Whenever we are going to do a Hiit or High Intensity Training it is highly recommended to follow a scheme consisting of 3 phases :


Phase 1 or Warm-up

Getting heated up, in other words, a warm up , going from “rest mode” to gradually activating the body , increasing pulse rate, the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles and body temperature. Remember that this stage is vital for reducing the chance of possible injuries such as muscle tears.
A simple warm-up would consist of starting to walk or jog , and towards the end, trying to increase the rhythm a bit and then start walking again and then begin your workout routine.
I want to share this video with you, which includes a series of guidelines on “warming up” to get our body ready for the workout below:

Phase 2 or Active

It is during the actual working out time when we perform the Hiit itself. It has a series of predetermined intervals where the following training rhythms are observed: High pace (or of the highest intensity) and Recovery rate (in some cases it can even use absolute rest).

The effective time of this phase will be around 15min. If your hiit is done correctly, don’t expect to be able to last much more time …

Phase 3 or Warming down

warm down , is a very important part of the routine and sometimes goes unnoticed. It usually has a duration similar to phase 1, and its objective is the opposite of this. We seek to gradually reduce blood pressure in addition to returning the heart to rhythms close to baseline, promoting the mobilization and excretion of substances as a result of energy metabolism.

How many intervals are there and how are they performed?

Although there is no fixed rule, depending on our capacity and level of experience, they can be planned between 6-10 intervals .

Hiit performance

Hiit Example


Warm-up2min walking + 2min jog + 1min running at the maximum speed possible+ 2min jog + 1min walking8min
Effective workout (2:1) 6 Intervals of 30 “High Intensity Rate – 60” Rate of Recovery 9min
cool down 3min jogging + 2min walking 5min
Total Training Time 22min

When to do Hiit?

Any exercise that has a certain level of intensity will put stress on the body

When doing an activity like this, we also seek a result. In this case, we could talk about improving performance, promoting fat burning … We can plan within our routine, on days when we are not going to lift weights or within the same training day of torso.

Hiit weight

It’s a training session like one we could do in the gym

Remember : a hiit session can affect or even damage our recovery from weight lifting

Does Hiit interfere with weight training?

In some aspects , a well-done hiit training session could be compared to a leg workout such as squats

Does squatting interfere with the rest of your routine planning? Absolutely not,because it is another element more typical of the total set. The indicative point would be to know how to plan the hiit and our ability to recover .

  • For that reason, a good time can be after finishing our gym training . Since it’s a short duration of time (the hiit session) it means that we don’t have extend the entire session too much after finishing our workout.
  • However, if our plan involves a Full Body workout, the hiit can be included on the days that we do not go to the gym .
  • On the other hand, if we don’t have any more free time and depending on the training that we are going to do, we can double up our workout session in order to do hiit.

Are Hiit and Fartlek the same?

Does the name Fartlek sound familiar to you? It is, as its translation indicates, “speed games”, so each fartlek routine is different, and you can configure the settings easily: pace, time, distance …

It is very similar to hiit, except that the latter seeks a predetermined or set sequence in addition to being much more intense.

Fartlek training

A fartlek workout seeks to maintain high intensity for longer. Hiit will soon leave you KO’d!

Hiit on an empty stomach

A different perspective you could use to understand this would be to equate it to training weights on an empty stomach

It is one of the most frequent questions. Can you train hiit on an empty stomach? The answer, in theory, is yes.

Our body is perfectly capable of working out on an empty stomach ,even when this workout or physical activity is of high intensity.

Hiit fasting

However, my recommendation is that before rushing into doing a hiit session on an empty stomach, we should have already gained experience training at a different time of the day and under different conditions. We could also start accumulating experience of different workouts to aid adaptation

Which is better Hiit or Cardio?

As far as I’m concerned, it is best to keep the maximum amount of stimuli within our routine

This can also be expanded and made more diverse by weight training.
I am definitely not from the school of thought which would seek to limit yourself to one type (or strategy) of training, since it’s essential to be trained to seek to develop the greatest number of adaptations, taking advantage of the impressive ability that our body has to adapt and grow.

This includes both integrating hiit , fartlek sessions, sets or stationary to medium difficulty cardio ( MISS ) or low ( LISS ) intensity

Remember that the higher the intensity, the more stress generated, and therefore, our result could be even more productive in the long run. But there is an essential factor that we also need to take into account, which is our recovery capacity and tolerance to training/workouts .
Miss training

A different type of High Intensity Training : Complex with Bar , click here to see what they are

Hiit on a treadmill

In this case, as I mentioned before, this would be a feasible option after finishing a weight training routine

As an alternative, we can do a hiit session on a treadmill, although we should take into account some considerations.

When we come to doing this exercise, we should check beforehand the maximum speed that we tolerate on the machine , take a look at the stop and start system (a feature of most modern treadmill), and be careful to avoid a trip or fall .

Hiit treadmill

Do you know the Differences between using a treadmill or running outside , click here and find out

Supplements to use when doing Hiit


There is no magic formula. Except for your ability to sacrifice and commit yourself. This is the only thing which guarantees progress. That said, if we look at “smart supplementation”, we can see that one of the best contributions that applied nutritional science has given us is creatine.

Creatine supplementation seeks to feed the phosphagen system by increasing ATP deposits (the energy that we are going to use). It can cause, in those that respond well to the supplement, an improvement in performance, greater recovery capacity between sets, and even an increase in lean muscle mass.

If you want to know How to take Creatine , click here


If we need a “boost or kick” of extra energy , we can always enjoy drinking coffee directly, or taking a caffeine supplement. The stimulating effect sought can be achieved in both cases, although it seems to indicate that just as coffee can increase gastric motility, in addition to the laxative effect, some people might have to stop the sports session early if they use this. …

If you are looking to know the Caffeine Benefits , click here


Branch chain amino acids or BCAAs are a set of 3 essential amino acids, with important properties, which are the maintenance of muscle mass and improvement of recovery , one of the maximum benefits of these products. If you decide to here, it can be quite beneficial to take a dose of pre-workout BCAAs.


Related articles

  • What are the effects of lactate on your body?, click here find out here
  • Do you know what a high-performance athlete should be eating?, click here
  • Discover the Tabata method, guarantees weight loss in 4 minutes! , clicking here
  • Do you know the relationship between warming up and boosting performance?, click here and find out why its essential
Assessment of HIIT

Fat loss - 100%

Retaining muscle mass - 100%

Boosting performance - 100%

Motivational - 100%


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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
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