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What is my 12 min HIIT and why it will work for you!

Updated: May 28, 2020

Let’s start with the basics, what does HIIT stand for and what on earth is it? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). To break it down, the “High Intensity” means hard work and the “Interval Training” means for set periods of time. So, to put it simply, HIIT is short bursts of intense exercise (like you have run for a train and only just caught it!) followed by short rest periods. One example might be running on the spot as fast as you can for 40 seconds (raising your heart rate), followed by resting for 20 seconds (bringing your heart rate back down) and then starting again. I liken it to switching the heating on in the house full blast and then switching it off!

One common belief is that the longer you exercise for the fitter you will get. For example, if one person has been on a 10km run and another person has been on a 5km run, one might think that the 10km runner had done more work (I once did!). However, the 5km runner could have been working at a much higher intensity (i.e. faster and/or harder). INTENSITY is the key word here and that’s what HIIT is all about. By working at a high intensity, your body is forced to use fat as an energy source instead of muscle - and this is why HIIT can give you the same results in a quarter of the time. What’s not to like?!!

So, if you are time poor and want to see fast results then HIIT is for you. Not only can you burn a lot of calories in a shorter space of time but it has many other benefits; it is easier on the joints, increases metabolism during and after your workout, increases oxygen consumption and reduces your blood sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure.

So now we know what HIIT is, why 12 mins?

When teaching HIIT and how to execute it correctly I will always start with a vigorous warm up. This is essential as you need to raise your heart rate and warm up the muscles ready for the work ahead and most importantly to prevent injury. I liken it to warming up the engine before you drive a car!

After a warm up, I believe that a 12 minute HIIT is an ideal amount of time for a workout (as long as you are working as hard as you possibly can!). It is effective, not too daunting and 100% achievable whatever your fitness level or fitness goals. I always tell my clients “never set yourself up to fail” and everyone can find 12mins in their day!

Below is an example of what one of my 12 Minute HIIT sessions looks like following a warm up:

40 secs x March

20 secs x Rest

40 secs x Side Taps

20 secs x Rest

40 secs x Tap Back

20 secs x Rest

40 secs x Knee Ups

20 secs x Rest


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