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Is HIIT an Effective Form of Training?

By Beau Bachety on Aug 10, 2022 9:45:00 AM
4 Minutes Reading Time


HIIT can be a valuable tool to add to an intelligent strength training program for anyone looking to supercharge their fat loss efforts. If done right, it's incredibly effective. But if misused, it can also have the opposite effect of what you are trying to do (get lean). Hopefully, this article will clear up any questions you have on HIIT and show you how to use it to reach your goals.

But first, what exactly is HIIT? HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It's bursts of all-out effort ranging from 10-30 seconds, followed by 1-minute rest and repeated for a set number of rounds. Use exercises like sprints, med ball slams, and rowing. The best is to start slow with a low number of rounds, like 5-6, and build up slowly over time to a max of 12-15 rounds.

While HIIT is a potent fat-burning tool, most people take it too far. HIIT first gained steam in the fitness industry, and its big claim was you can burn more calories in 10 minutes than you can in an hour with other forms of cardio. People heard this and thought, "alright cool, then I'll do HIIT 7 days a week, and I'll get ripped right"? Not so fast.

The problem is HIIT is very taxing on the CNS (Central Nervous System), making recovery no joke. It jacks up the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which a little of is good. Too much wreaks havoc on our ability to recover.  

Now you combine HIIT with the lifestyle many Americans live in 2022—intense jobs, social media scrolling, consuming lots of caffeine, and negative news. Many people constantly have their 'fight or flight mode' activated. Before they even do a session of HIIT, their cortisol levels are through the roof. Together, they zap your ability to recover.

It's no surprise many people who start doing HIIT 5-6x a week completely fry themselves and burn out. HIIT is probably not the best exercise choice after leaving the office after a long day of stressful events.  

So what's the right way to use HIIT? First, we need to have our stress levels in check. We are focusing on recovery, eating well, and getting good sleep. Once those are covered, we can think of sprinkling in HIIT as an extra tool in our fat loss efforts.

The key with HIIT is that in those 10-30 seconds it’s an all out effort. When you are attacking with actual 100% effort on specific exercises, it's hard to go much longer than 10-15 seconds without a drop in intensity. Follow that all-out effort with complete rest so you can hit the next round just as hard.

1-2x a week is all most people need. If you can recover from 2 sessions, you may be able to bump it up to 3. Anything more than that is overkill and will wreck your ability to recover.

As you can see, programming HIIT correctly into your routine can get a little confusing. Almost everyone does it too frequently and incorrectly.

We created MAPS HIIT for this reason. The program helps you implement HIIT into your routine, so you receive the powerful benefits from it and avoid the negative ones. No guesswork is required.

Mistakes with HIIT programs | Mind Pump 

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Beau Bachety

Beau is a writer from Long Island NY. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2013 where he played Division 1 football. Beau began his career as a walk-on before eventually earning a full scholarship and starting role. He credits his passion for strength training and dedication in the weight room as the key to closing the gap between him and more talented players, and ultimately what allowed him to succeed at the D1 level. To this day, training remains a key pillar in his life, a daily non-negotiable… and he believes very few things are better for your physical, mental and emotional well being than “iron therapy”. He’s teaming up with the Mind Pump crew to spread the word to the masses on the life changing benefits of strength training.

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