Tuesday, December 6, 2011

HIIT Me Baby One More Time: A Guide to High Intensity Interval Training for Normal People

Over at Kennebec Valley Coaching (yes, it's a real place, with real people, and a real office...not just a facebook page), people are asking lots of questions about HIIT--High Intensity Interval Training.

Googling HIIT can be two parts confusing and one part frustrating, since it'll usually bring you to a whole mess of bodybuilding websites. Now I don't know about you, but when I see picture of a bodybuilder it usually makes me cock my head to the left and go, "What am I looking at???? I don't think I even have one of those."

Trust me, you don't have one either.

Today, I'm happy to announce that there's no need to look any further because Run Muffin is hooking you up with A Guide to High Intensity Interval Training for Normal People. Like me. And you.

Here we go.

1) HIIT is good for helping you become a faster runner, increasing your anaerobic capacity, boosting your metabolism, and burning fat. Win, win, win, win.

2) HIIT is a quick, but highly effective workout that can be done inside on a treadmill or bike, or outside on a sidewalk or bike--you can even jump rope your HIIT workouts.  But, since I'm quite literally incapable of jumping rope, we'll focus on the running side of this thing.

3) Warm up for 5-10 minutes at an easy pace.

4) Once you've finished your warm-up, you'll start your intervals. 6 intervals for 30 seconds each is a good place to start.

5) For 30 seconds, run like there's a clown chasing you with a knife...or a hungry bear chasing you while you're wearing a bacon hat...or you're about to be run down by an out of control circus train. In other words, YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN WITHOUT EXPLODING INTO A MILLION PIECES.

But remember, you need to be able to do it 5 more times.

6) When you finish your interval, rest for 60 seconds with a super easy jog or a walk.

7) Repeat this charade until you've done 6, and cool down for 5-10 minutes with a light jog or a walk.

8) Go eat something protein-ish within 30 minutes.

As HIIT gets easier for you, you can intensify the workout in a couple different way. You can:

1) Run your repeats faster.

2) Run up to 12 intervals in a workout.

3) Increase your intervals up to 1 minute.

4) Put a little bit of incline on your treadmill.

Once you want to push your intervals past a minute, you're looking at a whole different type of workout and you're moving away from the HIIT game, which is fiiiiine. In my world, as long as you're not sitting in a hole, you're amazing.

Just a few more HIIT rules to remember:

1) Take your recovery as slowly as you want. If you need to crawl, you're pushing too hard. But walking is totally fine.

2) Your recovery should always be twice as long as your work interval.

3) If your treadmill goes up to 10mph, and it's not intense enough, up the incline to .1.

Questions? Concerns? Compliments? (just kidding)

Now go get your run on...or your jump rope I guess?


  1. that is way helpful. I was doing 30sec fast/1min fast walk, and I felt that I was running so fast that I was in danger of flailing off my treadmill, but it didn't feel "hard" and I easy knocked off probably 6 repeats before I started jogging my recoveries, which made it a bit harder. I think I will play with the incline - the speed I was running at made my form super horrible but didn't tax me - so I'll play around with your suggestions. Thanks!


  2. Like Berry Girl, this is very helpful. I'm trying really hard to get back into the running/regular exercise game & I'm definitely going to try this. I may even do it on the treadmill tonight at the gym. Hmmm, think the kids' room there will survive both kids while I'm trying to survive this HIIT workout?

  3. Amy I'm so excited that you have a blog devoted to running. How many days a week should we do HIIT Training? I don't know when my next race is, I mainly run to keep my mind sane from the craziness of life. I also wouldn't mind losing a few pounds along the way.

  4. I'd aim for once or twice a week depending on your goals. If it's part of a training plan, shoot for once. If you really want to burn up the fat, go for twice. You'll have fun!

  5. I love this and "bacon hat" really got me!

  6. I did it this morning and loved it. Thank you!!!