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Get the Most from Cardiovascular Exercise with High Intensity Interval Training

July 11th, 2023

Two of the biggest reasons people don’t stick with an exercise routine are lack of time and lack of results.

But…what if there was a 30 to 45-minute workout that could give you the same results (or better) as a workout that is twice as long (or longer).

This workout exists. And its benefits have been well-documented by professional trainers.

We’re talking about high intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT.

What is HIIT?

High intensity interval training typically begins with a 5 to 10-minute warm-up, and it concludes with 5 to 10-minute cool down.

In between, you alternate between periods of high intensity activity and periods of lower intensity activity.

Here’s an example:

  • 5 minutes of jogging in place to warm up.
  • 30-second periods of high intensity exercise (e.g. running, cycling, rowing, or burpees) alternated with 15-second periods of less intense activity (e.g. slow jogging or resistance exercises).
  • 5 to 10 minutes of stretching to cool down.

When it comes to structuring HIIT workouts, the variations and possibilities are practically endless (which means you’ll be less likely to get stuck in an exercise rut). The total workout should take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

What’s most important when doing HIIT workouts is that during the high-intensity periods of your training, you should be maxing out your exertion level (within reason). Wearing a heartrate monitor is a good idea. Checking with your primary care doctor to confirm that you’re fit for this type of exercise is also a good idea.

So…why would someone do HIIT in lieu of some other form of exercise? Here are some of the benefits:

Efficient Use of Your Time

We’re all busy. And sometimes being busy can get in the way of doing what we know we need to do to stay healthy. HIIT can be helpful in this regard because it lets you get the workout your body needs…but without taking a huge bite out of your schedule. A HIIT workout takes 30 to 45 minutes, but it will provide a similar calorie burn to an exercise session that is twice as long. Because HIIT workouts have high intensity effort built into them, your body works harder for a shorter period of time.

Increased Calorie Burn

HIIT workouts actually help your body to burn more calories because the high intensity intervals kick your metabolism into high gear. The bonus? Your metabolism keeps burning more calories even after your workout ends. Exercise scientists refer to this as the “afterburn effect”, and it results in more calories being burned than a longer workout that does not include high intensity intervals.

Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

High intensity intervals stress your cardiovascular system, which increases the maximum amount of oxygen your body uses. Physiologists call this “VO2 max”.

The result is better heart health and improved cardiovascular fitness.

More Lean Muscle Mass

Conventional cardiovascular workouts can actually result in losing muscle mass. This happens when workouts lead to a calorie deficit because they’re too long.

Conversely, high intensity intervals help to build lean muscle, especially if you combine your HIIT training with resistance training.

Faster Metabolism

One of the most exciting aspects of HIIT is that it can increase your metabolism between workouts. This is because the high intensity portion of your training creates an oxygen debt within your muscles. This oxygen deficit increases your metabolism once your workout is completed as your body works to replace the oxygen used (and burns calories in the process).


It’s easy to get into a rut with more conventional workouts. That boredom can make it hard to stay motivated for exercise. As mentioned above, the possible combinations one can create to achieve an effective HIIT workout are practically endless, making boredom nearly impossible.

Want to learn more about how HIIT could work for you? Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to sign up for your free 30-minute consultation.


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