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HIIT Basics

Why are HIIT workout plans so popular at the gym and recommended by personal trainers? According to a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT was the top fitness trend for the year 2014. So what’s the hype and how can I do it?

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a fat burning workout program that alternates between intervals of high and low intensity exercise. In other words, a short burst of exercise at max capacity, followed by a brief rest period. This combination of intermittent exertion and rest has proven extremely effective in reducing body weight along with providing numerous metabolic benefits.

The primary reason people are unable to stick to a regular workout routine is lack of time rather than lack of motivation. Old school, low intensity workouts provide results, but require more time. Interval training is an excellent solution. “Most people have a limited amount of time available for exercise. HIIT tends to be a more practical approach,” says Robert dos Remedios, director of speed, strength and conditioning at The College of the Canyons in Santa Clara, Calif.

The effectiveness of a HIIT workout program lies in the body’s increased demand for oxygen during bursts of intense exercise. This demand is met during rest intervals which in turn causes fat burn. The body’s oxygen demand and the rate of metabolism are proportionate- the greater the oxygen demand, the higher the metabolism. Thus, a HIIT workout routine quickly increases metabolism to induce fat loss. This effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). It keeps the body’s metabolic rate accelerated for up to 48 hours after exercise. This means that, even at rest, your body is still burning fat. HIIT fitness trains your body to be more effective in burning calories at all times and adds to overall health and wellness, in addition to weight loss.

HIIT is clearly a superior weight loss method as well as a multifaceted fitness plan that provides numerous benefits. According to researchers at the University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine in Sydney, in addition to causing fat loss, bursts of intense exercise help improve athletic endurance, better glucose metabolism, and maintain a healthy basal metabolic rate. The cardiovascular benefits are among the most valuable, and the cost is just a few minutes each day.


1. Thompson, Walter R. Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal: November/December 2013 – Volume 17 – Issue 6 – p 10–20.
2. Shiraev T, Barclay G. Evidence based exercise – clinical benefits of high intensity interval training. Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Dec;41(12):960-2.
3. Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8.

Author's bio: As a doctor and a nutritionist, Dr. Usman has a deep insight into all aspects of writing related to health and wellness. He is a regular contributor to several journals related to fitness, nutrition, health and medicine having produced thousands of quality articles, blog posts and ebooks over the years.

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