Body, Cardio, Exercise
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High Intensity for Everyone

If you are like me, when people talk about the High Intensity Interval Training workout, HIIT, you assume it is something designed for the people who have been working out for a while and are looking for a way to “up their game,” so to speak. Which is easy to understand considering the typical HIIT workouts you find online are pretty intimidating. They are filled with exercises with scary names like “thrusters,” “Russian twists” and “planks.” Then there is the complicated rules like: do 12 thrusters, run 2 minutes, walk 3 minutes, do Russian twists for 10 seconds, repeat 7.5 times, walk at half speed for 10 seconds…too much!

I have recently become aware that it does not have to be this way. In fact, almost everyone can reap the benefits from the HIIT workout. Not just those who are already running 5K’s.

The science behind this workout, according to, is about heart rate. It turns out that when you raise your heart rate for a period followed by lowering it for a period it helps you to lose weight. This can be as easy as stepping up the pace on the treadmill or the sidewalk for a small amount of time. It’s not about going as fast as you can for a long as you can, or lifting extreme amounts of weight for extended periods. And just as its name states, you work in intervals, high and low. Ready to try it?

First thing you need to do is figure out what your recommended maximum heart rate is for exercise. If you don’t know what it is, visit the American Heart Association’s website for a quick and easy way to figure this out. The goal is to get your heart rate up to 80% of the maximum for a short period of time, then back down to 55% of the maximum for a short period of time and repeating these intervals. Try the sample workout below to get started. You may find, as I did, that high intensity is not only for the super fit – we all can benefit!

  • 5 Minutes – walking warm up.
  • 2 Minutes – walk fast or run if you can.
  • 2 Minutes – back to walking.
  • Repeat the 2 minutes fast and 2 minutes slow as many times as you feel comfortable.

Take a look at your heart rate while you are walking comfortably. If it is too high, just keep walking and try the fast walk or running again once it has come down. Don’t forget you change it up to 3 minutes walking and 1 minute at a faster pace if you need to.

If you are at the top of your range – great!

  • 5 Minutes – slow it down cool down.

Don’t forget – it is all about you!

Reference Speeds for Treadmill

If you are doing this on a treadmill, try these speeds below as a start, or substitute your own.

5 Minute Warm Up
  • 2.5 minutes at 2.5 miles/hour
  • 2.5 minutes at 3.0 miles/hour
Intervals (as many as you choose)
  • 2 minutes at 5.0 miles/hour
  • 2 minutes at 3.0 miles/hour
5 Minute Cool Down
  • 2.5 miles/hour

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