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If you are choosing high intensity interval training (HIIT), you’re probably doing so for one of two reasons…
You either want to find short exercise you can fit in to a busy schedule, or you want the optimum fat burning potential with your exercise. You can have both with interval training.
And it seems you can also slice and dice your interval workouts to suit you…
Would you rather go at it hard for 2 minutes or eight?
A study done comparing two interval protocols revealed it’s the total volume of work that mattered. Using a minute of high intensity intervals and a minute of recovery 16 times compared to doing 4-minute high intensity intervals with three minutes recovery four different times got similar results in subjects.
If you’re doing math you know that the total high intensity work volume in both examples is 16 minutes. That’s the key to results. The amount of high intensity exercise you do matters most. That said, you could play with the variables in the following way.
- 16 one-minute high intensity intervals with 60-90 second recovery
- Eight two-minute high intensity intervals with 3 minutes recovery
- Four four-minute high intensity intervals with 3 minutes recovery
- Two eight minute high intensity intervals with 5 minutes recovery
Consider that you will naturally be able to work harder during one-minute intervals than you can for four or eight minutes. Ideally, you’ll mix it up and have more fun, as you enjoy greater fitness. You will likely default to a favorite. Try not to over do it.
To grow your fitness tool kit, play with other numbers. How would you slice and dice 20 minutes of total interval training? The important thing to remember about intervals is keeping the total volume of time shorter than if you were doing slow steady state exercise is wise. The chance that you will truly achieve high intensity exercise is better when you keep the time short.
Motivation to keep you going
So you’ve decided how you want to time your high intensity intervals and recovery time. Now it’s time to choose some tunes…
That’s because it just might help you push yourself a little harder. According to a post by my colleague, Jenny Smiechowski, a study published by researchers from the University of British Columbia found that listening to music while you start a new HIIT routine makes the adjustment easier.
“Newer research has established that as little as 10 minutes of intense HIIT, three times per week can elicit meaningful health benefits,” says study researcher Matthew Stork. “For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it, and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music.”