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What is HIIT Cardio? & 4 reasons to try it

When I started working out I had no idea where to start or what to do, but there was one thing I knew for sure – I don’t like running.

So naturally, knowing nothing about fitness, I never did cardio because I assumed (just like many people out there) that cardio meant running for an hour on a treadmill or a park – and just the thought of that made me snore. 

But then I found out about this thing called HIIT cardio, which apparently didn’t require running forever on a treadmill – so obviously I had to figure out what it was.

What is HIIT Cardio?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity-Interval-Training and is a technique in which you do an intense burst of exercise, followed by small rest periods. In other words, you workout as hard, and fast, as you can for a few seconds, and then, rest just enough to catch your breath and go at it again.

The main idea of HIIT is for your heart rate to stay up, and allow you to burn more calories in less time.

How Does HIIT Cardio Work?

Depending on your endurance, HIIT can go from 20 seconds of intense exercise and 10-second rest to 2 hardcore minutes and 1-minute rest.

My HIIT workouts usually range from 20 seconds to 1 minute depending on how intense the exercises are, or the combinations I am making – for example, if I am doing a lot of jumping, like in here, or here, I usually do 20-30 seconds and rest 10-15 seconds.

But, if the exercises are more static, like abs, for example, I can go from 40 seconds to 1 minute of hardcore workout, and 20-30 seconds of resting time, like I did this time or this one. And I always do 2 to 4 sets of 8 exercises at a time.

You can also do bodyweight, or include some exercising tools such as resistance bands

Or, if you like the treadmill or running outside, you can do sprints! 30 seconds on/30 seconds off for 10-15 minutes will leave you drenched!

  1. In my opinion, HIIT is way more fun than trying to burn calories by running on a treadmill for an hour; in fact, there are some studies that show that HIIT cardio is more effective than steady cardio to burn fat. However, if you love running for long periods of time, and it works for you, keep at it! HIIT is just a different technique.

  2. By doing HIIT you not only burn fat but also build muscle while improving cardiovascular strength. This means that by practicing HIIT your body can lean out and look toned which is perfect for summer!

  3. HIIT saves you time! On my last HIIT post, I recalled having only 30 minutes to get a workout in; so, I did 2 sets of 8 exercises, got my sweat in and burned about 500 calories, and then went on to eat crawfish with some friends 😊. What can I say, food is always a priority in my life.

  4. You can do HIIT everywhere! I’ve done HIIT at the beach, at the gym, at the park, and even at home. All you need is yourself and maybe a yoga mat

Of course, as I said previously, HIIT is just another exercising technique, and if you are happy with a different one, you don’t need to change it. Whenever we go to the park my husband runs while I do HIIT – it’s a matter of preference.

PS: before you go and try this, please remember to stretch and warm up your muscles, and don’t do crazy movements that might get you injured! Form is always key! So, before you go hardcore on squats or burpees, learn the right technique so you don’t hurt yourself 😊.

Oh! and if you need an app to control the time, I use this one – it’s free and has worked out great for me!

What are your favorite HIIT exercises? I would love to know!

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