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HIIT: a tough, painful workout that pays off

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is currently arousing much interest among training buffs. This type of training involves short, 20-minute training sessions at very close to maximum intensity. The purpose is to burn a considerable number of calories, reduce body fat, boost energy levels, and provide better muscle definition.

HIIT sessions consist of a sequence of specific exercises (like jumping jacks, wall squats, floor planks, lunges, push-ups, etc.) performed for 30 seconds each, one after the other. The different exercises are interspersed with periods of low-intensity, active recovery.

High intensity = high need for recovery

For maximum results, this type of training must be done two to three times a week. A greater number of sessions could affect the body negatively. Recovery between sessions is crucial. To function optimally and thus allow you to perform better in sessions to come, your body needs time to repair itself. What you eat right after training and during the meals that follow will serve to help your muscle tissues heal. Sleep also contributes to the recovery process.

HIIT is very demanding on the body. The work load of just one short- duration, high intensity training can be equivalent to a series of several moderate-intensity sessions. Training volume that is too high (excessive speed or training loads, inadequate recovery time, etc.) increases the risk of injury, undue fatigue, and overtraining. This means that the sessions have to be designed to suit your personal capabilities.

Types of high intensity interval training

XPERIENCE 360, available at several Nautilus Plus locations, is ideal for this sort of training. With its multistation structure, you can do an impressive variety of original, intense exercises that target specific areas of the body. Kettlebells, mooring ropes, TRX gear, trampolines, and weighted balls are among the large assortment of accessories you can use to provide intense, dynamic, and comprehensive workouts.

Your personal trainer can also prescribe this type of training using solely your body weight, jumps, and explosive exercises, also known as plyometrics. Discuss this possibility with your trainer to see if this style of training could be integrated into your current program.

Requiring little time and providing variety, HIIT is an attractive complement to your usual training routine. For maximum benefits, don’t forget the importance of adequate recovery.

Sample HIIT training:

  • Warm-up for 3 minutes
  • Do a 30-second, high intensity exercise. You should feel seriously out of breath and incapable of continuing the exercise one second longer. Go for maximum reps without compromising proper technique.
  • Take a 1 min 30 s active rest break – keep moving.
  • Repeat the same exercise or do a different one for 30 seconds. Follow up with active recovery for 1 min 30 s.
  • Repeat this cycle 7 times.


Karine Larose, M.Sc.

Karine Larose is a kinesiologist, Director of Marketing and Communications and Spokesperson for Nautilus Plus who specializes in fitness motivation. She authored The Guide to Healthier Living, penned the book 10-4 The Healthy Way to Lose 10 Pounds in 4 Weeks and released her third work called Zero Diet: Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success, all by Les Éditions du TRÉCARRÉ. Karine has launched a series of exercise DVDs entitled 30 minutes par jour pour Vivre Plus and is featured on the ULTIME FIT online platform. Many TV shows and radio stations regularly request Karine’s point of view on physical exercise issues and points of interest.

HIIT: a tough, painful workout that pays off is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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