High Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT, is changing the way we exercise and how quickly we get results. Rather than spend an hour doing steady, continuous training, you can be in and out in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. HIIT consists of doing short, yet super intense bursts of work with very short rest periods. What does super intense mean? You need to work as hard and as quickly as you can. Speed will vary depending on the type of activity.

In exchange for a shorter workout, you have to work much harder.  Is it worthwhile? Yes! Will you see results? Yes! Is it challenging? Yes! Can anyone at any fitness level do it? Yes!

You can program your HIIT training on time challenges, number of repetitions, or using a pyramid format. No matter which one you choose, remember to always warm-up first for about five minutes and end your session with a cool down and stretch. Here are a few ideas:

Time challenge

  • Choose 2-4 high-intensity activities. For example: sprinting, jump rope, mountain climbers and skaters. Do one per set and alternate until you have completed all the sets.
  • During the final set, only do the burst and then follow with your cool down.
  • Beginner: 30 second burst; 60 seconds rest. Repeat 12 times. Intermediate: 30 second burst; 30 seconds rest. Repeat 21 times. Advanced: 30 second burst; 15 seconds rest. Repeat 24 times.

Tip: Try to count how many repetitions you do within the work time. Try to beat your number the next time!

Repetition training

Choose five high-intensity activities for which you can easily count reps. For example: squat jumps, push-ups, Russian dead lifts, burpees and V-sits. Perform each exercise 10 times and rest for 10 seconds in between each set. Repeat the entire circuit 10 times for a total of 500 reps.

Tip: Time how long it takes you to get through each circuit or for the entire workout. Try to beat your time the next time!

Pyramid training

Let’s use the same routine as in the repetition training but change the number of reps per set:

  • Set 1: perform 10 reps/exercise
  • Set 2: perform 15 reps/exercise
  • Set 3: perform 20 reps/exercise
  • Set 4: perform 15 reps/exercise
  • Set 5: perform 10 reps/exercise

Tip: Time how long it takes you to get through each circuit or for the entire workout. Try to beat your time the next time!

All of these trainings expect you to push your limits from start to finish. Replace reading magazines or books on the recumbent bike with a jumping playlist or a workout buddy. Commit to give it your all. Then feel great and enjoy the extra free time to do whatever you please.

Katya MohsenKatya Mohsen is a personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.