HIIT training plan: What everyone should know about high-intensity interval training
A HIIT training plan is one of the most effective solutions when fat loss is your goal.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is considered an insider tip among fat-burning methods.
Let’s start with the last question – Essentially, fat burning comes from two sources.
First, an energy deficit, and second, the afterburn effect.
How does fat loss work?
I suspect you’ll agree when I tell you that fat loss is associated with negative energy balance: your body uses more energy than you put in.
I usually get into disagreements when I discuss the question of how exactly?
Because your body does not give up its stored fat without a “good reason.”
If you give it a “good reason” – a significant energy deficit – your body will activate our ancestors’ emergency program and make critical adjustments to hold on to its “valuable” fat and get back into a comfort zone.
Therefore, he will almost certainly shut down his circulatory activity and even break down muscle tissue to save energy.
The maintenance of the existing musculature costs him a relatively large amount of energy – even when you sleep.
So your first goal is to keep your metabolism at least as revved up as it was before the energy deficit.
These two approaches will help you:
- Proper nutrition: Eat plenty of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables every meal.
- The right training: With a highly effective workout, you force your body to burn energy for a long time, even after leaving the gym.
The second point is where the afterburn effect comes into play.
Secret afterburn effect: How to trigger it with HIIT training
In science, the afterburning effect is also called oxygen deficit or compensation for the oxygen deficit.
What happens during the “afterburn” in our body?
When we work out, our bodies require much more oxygen than usual. When you consciously perceive your pulse and breathing rate during training, you will realize that both are much greater than at rest.
The more we train, the more oxygen our bodies require. The increased respiratory rate is accompanied by increased metabolic activity, which causes our body temperature to rise.
The greater the disparity between our resting and training metabolisms, the longer it takes our body to return to normal. And the more energy he expends getting there.
This is known as the afterburn effect. The afterburn effect is a highly effective method of fat loss. The afterburn effect is triggered by high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
Regarding high-intensity interval training – HIIT for short – we’re talking about a special type of endurance training that you can do on a bike, running track, treadmill, cross trainer, skipping rope, or in the swimming pool.
You must get your heart rate up. Traditionalists prescribe a lot of constant-speed endurance training to shed weight for a reason: This form of exercise uses a lot of energy. The formula is simple: the longer you train, the more energy you burn.
While your metabolism quickly slows down again after regular endurance training, you continue to burn more energy for hours after the end of a short but intensive training session – due to the afterburn effect.
That’s exactly the idea behind High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
A HIIT workout is structured as follows:
- High-intensity phase: You push yourself to the limit for a certain period. Usually, this is 30-60 seconds, and I think 15 seconds in “anything goes” mode is sufficient.
- Recovery phase: You then recover at a very easy pace for about three times as long as the stress phase.
- New beginning: Then you start the cycle with the high-intensity phase from the beginning – and so on.
The transition between the two load intensities is far more difficult than a steady-state training session. As a result, HIIT causes a greater oxygen deficit, a substantially longer afterburning impact, and consequently greater fat loss.
You won’t (and don’t have to) stick with HIIT for too long:
2 to 3 x 15 to 30 minutes per week is enough
Be prepared to conduct HIIT at your gym while wearing a heart rate monitor. A customer in fitness coaching grew uneasy after the cross trainer displayed a warning message: “Warning, your heart rate is too high!”
The cause for this is the software architecture of cardiac machines: They were designed for endurance but not high-intensity interval exercise. But it is precisely what we hope to achieve with HIIT:
For the high-intensity phase, the pulse should be anaerobic.
The ideal HIIT exercise program
You can begin HIIT training with a 10-minute unit. If you want to increase your muscles at the same time, you should do HIIT after your strength training – you can learn more about this in my article on the best training sequence.
Your body will get used to the HIIT load over time so that you can build up the duration after a few weeks. Here is a sample HIIT training plan for beginners:
- Week 1-4: 15 seconds HIIT, 45 seconds recovery, total duration: 10 minutes (3x per week)
- Week 5-8: 15 seconds HIIT, 45 seconds recovery, total duration: 12 minutes (3x per week)
- Week 9-12: 15 seconds HIIT, 45 seconds recovery, total duration: 14 minutes (3x per week)
If, after a few sets, you feel that 15 seconds is too easy for you, you can lengthen the high-intensity interval and switch to a 30/30 split, for example.
Tip: You can further increase the afterburn effect by intensifying your strength training. For example, include circuit training, supersets, and/or complex exercises like pull-ups, squats, and push-ups targeting many muscle groups at once. The kettlebell swing is also an excellent complex exercise.
The Science of HIIT Training: Does it Work?
The effectiveness of HIIT was scientifically proven back in the mid-1990s. The researchers divided 27 untrained subjects into two groups. Group 1 completed 20 weeks of conventional endurance training (4-5 units per week of 30-45 minutes each), and group 2 a 15-week HIIT (3 units per week, each max. 20-25 minutes training duration).
Result of the study: although both groups had a comparable body weight after the end of the study, HIIT group 2 had a significantly lower body fat percentage in the subcutaneous fat tissue, which was lower by a factor of 6 than in group 1.
Fat burning = diet + exercise
A proper HIIT training plan that triggers an afterburn effect is only one element of the equation. Another element is the right diet. If you want to know more about fat reduction through nutrition and which form of nutrition, Bodybuilders use it to massively reduce body fat in 8 weeks without losing muscle mass.
Book tip: HIIT training plan without treadmill & Co.
Fitness coach Jason “Cardio sucks” Ferruggia has released an innovative HIIT training program that does not require a treadmill or cardio machine.
His e-book “Renegade Cardio” offers 52 ingenious HIIT training finishers that will get you circulating and burning fat at full speed within 5-10 minutes.
I got Renegade Cardio on the recommendation of a friend’s trainer and was immediately hooked. One of the best workout books I’ve read on the subject.
If short, intense HIIT workouts are your thing, you are not a fitness newcomer, and you would like to get suggestions in English, you can download the e-book here.
There’s no risk. Jason offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
You can find an excerpt from his book in this article.
HIIT Training Plan – Conclusion
Indeed, when it comes to fat loss, HIIT is a highly effective way to trigger the afterburn effect, allowing for sustained fat loss after your workout has ended.
However, you can only achieve fat reduction if you create an energy deficit simultaneously, i.e., you take in less energy from your diet than you use.
With a high-protein, carbohydrate-conscious diet and lots of vegetables, you can easily achieve this energy deficit without feeling hungry. Try HIIT at your next fitness session. You’ll find that it can be a lot of fun and work up a sweat incredibly quickly.