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SiSU Wellness


Last Updated: 17 January 2019









You may’ve seen the latest buzz word in fitness ‘HIIT’ scattered across magazines, gyms and even on twitter. And it’s not as scary as the name suggests. 

High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT is a concept that’s actually been used in fitness and sports training for decades. It involves alternating between different intensity exercise for set intervals. Other similar types of interval training include Tabata, Fartlek and Sprint Interval Training (SIT). 


The benefits of all of these types of interval training are numerous – they’re cardiovascular workouts so they’ll improve aerobic fitness and heart health. They also help to improve the way sugar and insulin are used in your body, and increase the amount of fat used during exercise – therefore potentially helping with weight loss. 1,2.3


Make HIIT work for you

Whatever your level of fitness, you can benefit from HIIT – and the great thing is that you don’t need any specialist equipment. You can choose how to do your HIIT workout - using an exercise bike, a skipping rope,  or doing other forms of cardiovascular exercise such as running, jumping or burpees.


HIIT for beginners:

before starting a new exercise routine, check with your doctor that you’re ok to begin. This workout uses different walking and jogging speeds to alter the heart rate. Start by walking at a comfortable pace for 2 minutes. Then switch to a jog (this should be at a speed you can maintain for 30 seconds but cannot maintain a conversation at). Switch between your walking pace (1 minute) and this jog speed (30 seconds) for five times – eight times (increasing the number of rounds as you gain fitness). If you cannot jog, switch between very fast walking and moderately-paced walking.


HIIT for intermediate – advanced exercisers:

choose your activity (cycling, jogging or cross training). Warm up for around 5 minutes, gradually increasing your heart rate. Then perform 6-8 rounds of sprint and recovery sets. Sprint for 30 seconds (you should feel like the last few seconds are almost impossible) and then recovery for 60 seconds (active recovery to lower the heart rate, so slow jogging or cycling). As you become more advanced you can increase the duration of the sprints and reduce the duration of the recovery – or repeat the number of rounds performed.



Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)


1. Babraj J et al "Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males". BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009. 9: 3
2. Trapp EG et al. "The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women". International Journal of Obesity  2008 32 (4): 684–91.
3. Tremblay A et al. "Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism". Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental (1994) 43 (7): 814–8.

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