From the Blog

The Benefits of Interval Training!

September 3rd, 2010 - Fitness News


If you know anything about fitness, you have probably heard the term “Interval Training” and/or the phrase “HIIT” before. If you don’t know what it is, or why it’s a great form of exercise to incorporate into your routine, I will be the first person to tell you what it is and why it works!

I know for me personally, interval training has been a great form of exercise because it’s quick, effective, and straight to the point! I started doing this type of training to replace some of my long drawn-out cardio sessions, and to get in shape for my wedding. Within weeks I noticed a higher level of endurance, and fat loss than I had ever noticed with hours of cardio.

Over a year later, I have kept interval training as a part of my fitness routine and usually do two 30 minute interval workouts a week, along with one steady-cardio session (like kickboxing, a walk, or run) and one to two weight training sessions a week! I have found that my body is much more toned, fit, and I have much more energy doing interval training in place of my long cardio sessions! I also have more time for other things in life, which is always important! :)

Thank You Interval Training!!! More Muscle...Less Workout Time!!!

Thank You Interval Training!!! More Muscle...Less Workout Time!!!

SO…What Is Interval Training!?!

Interval training (or HIIT, which simply stands for High Intensity Interval Training) is a form of exercise that involves short periods of high intensity exercise (think sprinting) followed by longer periods of low to moderate intensity exercise, (think jogging or walking).

Why Is Interval Training So Great!?

  • If you’re stuck in a workout rut, intervals can be a new and interesting way to beat boredom and get in shape.
  • Interval training is a great form of ‘cardio’ exercise (especially when your goal is to loose weight) because it allows you to burn calories both during and after your workout because it takes longer for your body to recover from this type of exercise than a steady cardio workout, (think a long steady jog).
  • Interval training is also great for fat loss because it uses both carbohydrates and fat to fuel your workout. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.
  • In addition, studies have shown that when people loose weight, they tend to not only loose fat, but muscle as well. Interval training has been shown to limit the muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer duration.

How Do I Incorporate Interval Training Into My Fitness Routine!?

To get the benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself to your MAXIMUM EFFORT during the high intensity part of the workout, (meaning you are pushing so hard you don’t think you could possibly go any harder, to the point where you feel like your almost out of breath). And during the low intensity part of the workout you allow your body to replenish your oxygen and energy (think of this as a time to recover and catch your breath).

How Often Should I Do Interval Training?
You don’t need to replace all of your aerobic exercise for interval training. In fact, you shouldn’t do interval training more than 2-3 times a week in order to give your body enough recovery time. A good balance, for example, might be two sessions of HIIT per week, along with 1-2 sessions of steady-state aerobic exercise. As usual, moderation is the key to long-term success, so challenge yourself, but give your body the rest that it needs as well!

Here Are Some General Interval Training Guidelines

  • HIIT is designed for people whose primary concerns are boosting overall cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and fat loss, without losing the muscle mass they already have.
  • Before starting any HIIT program, you should be able to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Because HIIT is physically demanding, it’s important to gradually build up your training program so that you don’t overdo it. (Note: This exercise is not appropriate for people with heart problems)
  • Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after each HIIT session.
  • Work as hard as you can during the high intensity intervals, until you feel the burning sensation in your muscles.
  • Full recovery takes about four minutes for everyone, but you can shorten the recovery intervals if your high intensity intervals are also shorter.

A Sample Progressive Interval Training Program

Here is a sample eight week interval training program that anyone at a moderate fitness level can start to progressively work their way up to HIIT training. This basic training program can be further intensified by adding longer periods of high intensity intervals, shorter recovery periods, or both.


Week Warm Up High Intensity Interval Recovery Interval Repeat Cool Down Total Workout Time
1 5 min 1 min 4 min 2 times 5 min 20 min
2 5 min 1 min 4 min 3 times 5 min 25 min
3 5 min 1 min 4 min 4 times 5 min 30 min
4 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 2 times 5 min 21 min
5 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 3 times 5 min 26.5 min
6 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 4 times 5 min 32 min
7 5 min 2 min 5 min 3 times 5 min 31 min
8 5 min 2 min 5 min 4 times 5 min 38 Week Warm Up High Intensity Interval Recovery Interval Repeat Cool Down Total Workout Time
1 5 min 1 min 4 min 2 times 5 min 20 min
2 5 min 1 min 4 min 3 times 5 min 25 min
3 5 min 1 min 4 min 4 times 5 min 30 min
4 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 2 times 5 min 21 min
5 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 3 times 5 min 26.5 min
6 5 min 1.5 min 4 min 4 times 5 min 32 min
7 5 min 2 min 5 min 3 times 5 min 31 min
8 5 min 2 min 5 min 4 times 5 min 38 min


Heather (Heather's Dish) said:

i adore interval training…so fun and OBVIOUSLY the results are great :)

September 3rd, 2010 — 8:17am  |  Reply

Lisa @ I'm an Okie said:

your workout routine sounds very similiar to mine now! I like to do 2 30-40 minute interval sessions a week, 1 zumba class and then a couple weight lifting sessions.

September 3rd, 2010 — 8:37am  |  Reply

Sarah said:

Great timing on this post! I’m looking to drop a few pounds of fat and mix up my workouts:-).

September 3rd, 2010 — 9:25am  |  Reply

Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) said:

Intervals are awesome!! I need to make sure I don’t forget about them since I’m focusing on learning to run. Good post!! :)

PS- love those biceps you’re rockin’!

September 3rd, 2010 — 10:51am  |  Reply

Sami said:

hiit is where it’s at! :) love this post as i am loving shaun t insanity workouts right now! xo.

September 3rd, 2010 — 12:23pm  |  Reply

Lisa said:

Hi katie! Its Lisa! I got my own blog, you inspired me to start one of my own! I absolutely love this post, interval workouts are my favorite thing to do and they are great way to boost your endurance!

September 3rd, 2010 — 12:35pm  |  Reply

Mignon said:

I LOVE Insanity it really keeps me going and it makes me feel so much better! I love ur blog girl it the only blog that ever interests me! Keep it up.

September 3rd, 2010 — 2:59pm  |  Reply

Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews said:

Hello! I am a new subscriber from Michigan too!!! I write a healthy living blog with a bunch of giveaways too.

Where about in MI are you from? I live in Fennville, MI which is on the West side of the state.

September 4th, 2010 — 6:23am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

ann arbor…home of the MI stadium! :)

September 4th, 2010 — 8:50am  | 

Wendy @ Seriously Sassy said:

HIIT rocks my world!!!

September 4th, 2010 — 3:06pm  |  Reply

HefiA said:

Wow!!! What an amazing blog you have here!! I can sure tell that you’ve been doing this for a while.
I’m so glad I discovered your site. Awesome!

Please keep the posts coming. You’re an inspiration.


ѼHefiA at HealthFirst.Always

September 4th, 2010 — 7:55pm  |  Reply

coco said:

hi~ I just found your site and wanted to say hi~~~
i’m definitely trying your interval training routines! sounds fun! :)

September 6th, 2010 — 5:08am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

Awesome coco! Let me know what you think in a few weeks! :)

September 6th, 2010 — 5:13am  | 

Cara said:

I love doing HIIT! Like you I can see and feel what a difference it makes for my body. I typically do my HIIT sessions on the arc trainer at the gym, or I use the Cathe HIIT dvd program at home- it’s a fun (but killer!) alterntive!

September 6th, 2010 — 6:16am  |  Reply

eatmovelove said:

Intervals are the way to go apparently.

I just seen your carrot cupcakes – and will be totally making them! YUM :)

September 6th, 2010 — 12:10pm  |  Reply

Holly said:

I LOVE interval training- it’s my favorite :) Less time, more calories burned- perrrrrfect :)
And, love the picture!! You’re too cute :)

September 9th, 2010 — 3:33pm  |  Reply

Emily said:

LOOOVE this post. i am so with you on this!! glad you’re my HIIT / anyyy workout buddy :)

September 9th, 2010 — 5:47pm  |  Reply

Leah Case said:

Absolutely LOVE your blog!!!!

September 14th, 2010 — 5:55pm  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

Thanks Leah! :)

September 15th, 2010 — 5:16am  | 

Ana Maria said:

this is great! I love to do cardio and go running, but it does get kind of boring doing the same thing so i will have to give this a try!

March 17th, 2011 — 12:05pm  |  Reply

Rachel B. said:

Can you do the HIIT on a stationary bike? That’s my primary source of cardio. Where do you do your HIIT at? Do you run? Do you use dumbells when you lift weights? If so, what’s the weight of them. Sorry for all the questions. I’m just interested in doing this, yet I have no idea where to start.

November 13th, 2011 — 3:53am  |  Reply

Heidi Johnson said:

I love this idea! Being someone who has exercised a lot, I am a pretty novice weight lifter. The research I was doing regarding cardio workouts scared me about possibly burning away the muscle I have been working so hard for. I cannot wait to implement HIIT into my week! THANKS!!! Live in Allen Park MI…close to Ann Arbor. Love reading from someone in MI, but especially from a fellow sister in Christ.

March 14th, 2012 — 2:41am  |  Reply

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