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Benefits of HIIT Training

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The New Year has started and like most people you’ve probably made a resolution to get healthier in 2014.  One of the best workouts to start the New Year is with a HITT workout.  They are short, intense and will give you great results . . . as long as you follow the nutrition plan, of course.  

When most people think of cardio, they think of long, boring jogs, or endless hours on the elliptical and treadmill.  I know, because it’s what I used to do 4 or 5 days a week, until I realized there’s a method of cardio that takes half the time and is much more effective than jogging to help you burn fat.    It’s called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  Continue reading to find out how you can take your workout routine and your fitness to new levels . . . in less time.

Traditional cardio or “steady state” cardio has been a model for exercise and weight loss for the past 20 years, however it is not the most effective way to burn calories, it’s not even the best way to get in shape.  If you’re looking to burn calories, shed some fat and hop into those jeans sitting in you closet collecting dust then you want high intensity interval training cardio.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training involves alternating between very intense bouts of exercise and low intensity exercise.  For example, sprinting for 30 seconds, then walking for 60 seconds is high intensity interval training.  HIIT can be used both anaerobically (in the gym with weights) and aerobically with cardio.

Why Is HIIT the Best Cardio to Burn Fat?

Exercise physiologists used to believe that “steady state” cardio was superior for fat loss because relatively more fat is used by the body as fuel at lower exercise intensities than at higher intensities.  The “Fat Burning Zone” shown on most cardio equipment as only 60%-65% of max heart rate is really a myth and is NOT optimal for burning fat.  Yes, you burn more fat relative to glycogen when going for a walk, but what we care about is total fat burn.  At higher intensities, you are burning far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower.  In addition, Interval training allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat.

As an added bonus, there’s also an afterburn effect.  You burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns almost NO calories after.  Its the difference between holding a weight in your hand for an hour to build up your biceps or actually curling the weight for approximately 15 minutes at 3 sets of 10.  Curling the weight as opposed to just holding it in your hand is a more effective way to build the biceps in a shorter period of time.

Other HIIT Benefits

There are a number of great benefits to High Intensity Interval Training besides serious fat burn that include:

Increased Aerobic Capacity – The amount of oxygen your body can use (oxygen uptake) is increased, so your overall aerobic capacity can increase faster than with just jogging

Increased Lactate Threshold – Your ability to handle increased lactic acid buildup in your muscles substantially increases

Improved Insulin Sensitivity – Your muscles more readily suck in glucose, instead of the glucose going to your fat stores

Anabolic Effect – Some studies show that interval training combined with consuming slightly more calories than you  burn creates an anabolic effect, which helps you put on muscle without putting on fat.  The opposite occurs with steady state cardio, which for long durations is catabolic, thus stripping away all that hard earned muscle you have (just see the picture of the marathoner above)

Sample HIIT Workout

If you are a beginner, I would recommend only trying HIIT if you can do a session of cardio for 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your max heart rate.  You can still try interval training, but at a lower exercise intensity and beginners should always wear a heart rate monitor.

Here’s a sample of some HIIT workouts that are offered on this website

Insanity – created by Shawn T, this HITT workout includes 10 workouts, fitness guide, nutrition plan and workout schedule.

Asylum – created by Shawn T, Asylum includes 6 workouts, fitness guide, nutrition plan, schedule, agility ladder and jump rope.  This is HIIT training with a sport specific workouts.

Turbo Fire – created by Chalean Johnson, the workout includes 12 workouts, nutrition plan, schedule and lower body band.

Chalean Extreme – created by Chalean Johnson, Chalean Extreme includes 15 workouts, nutrition guide, fitness guide, thigh toner band and body fat tester.

CLICK on the programs tab at the top of the page to view videos of these and other workouts.

HITT training for 30 to 45 minutes a day in the convinence of your own home compared to running on a treadmill or in the freezing weather.  I rarely go for just a jog unless I just want to clear my head, or get a little sweat.  Jogging is child’s play compared to HIIT, which is substantially more effective to help you burn fat in less time and take your body to a MUCH higher fitness level.


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