What’s a HIIT Session?

What Is HIIT

HIITs for a Blasted Metabolism

HIIT sessions (high-intensity interval training) can be a very time-efficient alternative to hours of conventional cardio that can help improve your metabolism, endurance, and help push through your cardio plateaus. Remember when it comes to the DIY approach it’s all about exercising smarter, not longer!

1. HIIT sessions can improve metabolism and insulin sensitivity by 23%
2. HIIT sessions can improve fatty-acid oxidation
3. HIIT sessions can save you hours of time on the treadmill doing conventional cardio training
4. Example HIIT session within the article

Get Your HIIT On

I get this complaint a lot, “why am I not losing more weight? I’m doing countless hours of cardio a week but the results aren’t happening fast enough.”

With which reply to maybe try HIIT sessions: high-intensity interval training. Invariably I get the response, “what the heck is a HITT session?”

What’s a HIIT Session?Well my friend’s HIIT sessions are a thing of beauty, they are a way to get the results of countless hours of conventional cardio (jogging) a week but in two or three, 15-25 minute sessions a week. They can increase your metabolism and increase your VO2 max (the maximal oxygen consumption: your ability to uptake oxygen or your cardio fitness).

Okay first off, cardio training is great! It helps keep your heart healthy, helps improve circulation, and helps increase your metabolism.

BUT doing 15 hours of conventional cardio a week can be hard on your joints and can cause you to metabolically plateau. Let’s not forget that doing hours of cardio can be time-consuming (who has the time to run 2 hours a day?).

There is another cardio option, HIIT sessions. These time-efficient sessions take interval training to the maximum. Okay, okay what are they? HIIT sessions are simply alternating between short periods of maximal effort and short periods of rest (I’ll give you an example HIIT session later).

What’s a HIIT Session?These sessions can have remarkable outcomes. In fact doing just three, 15 minute HIIT sessions a week can increase endurance, increase VO2, and increase your metabolism (Gibala & McGee 2008).

Another study found that doing just seven HIIT sessions over a two-week period produced a positive increase in fatty acid oxidation (helping increase metabolism of fats) in women who were moderately active (Talanian et al 2006).

Okay if these examples haven’t convinced you to give HIIT sessions a try, maybe this will. A group of young males performed six, 15 minute HIIT sessions over the course of two weeks for a weekly total work effort of only 250 kcal.

The results showed HIIT sessions improved insulin sensitivity by 23% (helping increase metabolic processes: Babraj et al 2009)!

The scientists indicated that this time-efficient training method can be very helpful for sedentary middle-aged people by offering an alternative to time-consuming cardio training (Babraj et al 2009).

Now that you understand that HIIT sessions are totally cool and can save you a proverbial crap-ton of time, it’s time to try one out.

My go-to HIIT session goes like this:

10 min jogging/walking warm-up
15 min HIIT session: Alternate between 30-second intervals of all-out sprinting and 30-second intervals of walking/resting. If you are just beginning your HIIT session journey, or any cardio for that matter, you may want to increase your rest intervals to 45 seconds or one minute. You must remember that during the high-intensity intervals you really need to push yourself as hard as possible!
5 min cool-down period


This is just an example HIIT session; you can tailor it to meet your time requirements.

Also remember that you don’t have to run for it to be a HIIT session you can use a stationary bike, stair climber, elliptical…etc.

It’s ideal to do only 2-3 HIIT sessions a week considering that can be incredibly draining on the body when done right and your body needs a period of recovery between sessions.

Now that you have a handle on HIIT sessions and why they can be so awesome go out there a try one and see if it’s right for you. Be Active you all!


Babraj JA, Vollaard NBJ, Keast C, Guppy FM, Cottrell G, Timmons JA (2009) Extremely short duration high-intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males. BMC Endo Disorders 9:3.

Gibala MJ, McGee SL (2008) Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gains. Ex Sport Sci Rev 36:58-63.

Talanian JL, Galloway SDR, Heigenhauser GJF, Bonen A, Spriet LL (2006) two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. J App Physio 102: 1439-1447.

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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What’s a HIIT Session?