Advanced HIIT Training: High Intensity Interval Training Workouts

at aerobicsfit, it’s no secret that we are a fan of high intensity interval training workouts.  I generally advocate performing extremely intense short interval HIIT followed by steady state cardio followed by long interval HIIT for the best results.  While I think this is an effective fat loss strategy, I’d like to discuss an alternative advanced HIIT training program that Rusty Moore (author of Visual Impact) wrote about on Fitness Black Book.

Not too long ago, I wrote about a USA today article that showed people who were “fit” actually burned more fat than people who weren’t “fit” after a workout.  While the result itself is interesting, there are practical implications for advanced HIIT training.  The study defined a fit person based on VO2 max, the amount of oxygen you use in one minute of exercise.  Fit people have higher VO2 max levels than out of shape people.  Therefore if you can increase your VO2 max level, you can theoretically increase the amount of fat burned after a workout.

My HIIT Workout Routine

As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to segment my cardio workout into short, intense intervals followed by steady state cardio followed by long intervals:

2 minute warm up
8 minute short interval HIIT (15 second all out spring, 45 second light jog)
25 minute steady state cardio
10 minute long interval HIIT (1 minute fast paced jog, 1 minute light jog)

The theory is that short interval HIIT releases fatty acids into the bloodstream and steady state cardio burns them off.  Short interval HIIT also reduces glycogen levels and promotes HGH release, a hormone that burns fat while preserving muscle.  Long interval HIIT closes everything out by further deflating glycogen levels allowing for significant after burn effect (EPOC).

The results of a study showing how 20 minutes of HIIT (8 second sprint, 12 second rest) is more effective than 40 minutes of steady state cardio

An Advanced HIIT Training Program

While my HIIT workout routine is a great way to lose fat, as you get extra lean, you may be able to blast through a plateau by focusing on increasing VO2 max to get more “fit.”  Rusty analyzed a number of studies and found the best way to increase VO2 max is to perform long interval high intensity interval training workouts earlier in the week and short interval HIIT workouts later in the week.  Here’s what a typical week’s training would look like:

Day 1: 4 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes
Day 2: 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes
Day 3: Off
Day 4: 1 minute running, 1 minute walking for 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes steady state cardio
Day 5: 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking for 10 minutes followed by 20 minutes steady state cardio
Day 6-7: Off

The running for long interval HIIT workouts on the first two days should be about the pace you could sustain for 8 straight minutes.  The short interval HIIT workouts later in the week should be more intense sprints.  Just be cognizant of overtraining as intense intervals have a tendency to cause leg burnout very quickly.  I generally only recommend 3 non-consecutive days of HIIT per week, so the above program should probably only be used for a month at a time before taking a 4-5 days off.  Additionally, it’s probably best to avoid direct leg training when performing such a routine.

Beach sprints are great for HIIT training

Get Fit to Burn More Fat

If you’re a beginner, start with the first HIIT workout routine I outlined.  However, as you burn more fat and get in better shape, you might want to shift your focus to the advanced HIIT training program in order to increase VO2 max and further improve your fat burning potential.  Overall, either of these high intensity interval training workouts offer strong fat burning effects, the first through HGH release alone, the second through increased VO2 max early in the week combined with HGH release later in the week.