Fit Friday: Hitting it big with HIIT workouts.

Having a good, sound, comfortable fitness routine is vital to the success of any athlete.

If you really want to have success, sometimes you can’t be afraid to get uncomfortable.

When I’m instructing my fitness classes, one of the cues I like to use once in a while is “If you want to get stronger, you’ve got to get uncomfortable.”

And sometimes, that uncomfort can come from adding shorter, more intense workouts to your fitness routine.

In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about High Intensity Interval Training – or “HIIT” – workouts, which generally aren’t longer than 30 minutes, but are designed to give you the proper amount of work in a short allotment of time.

Whether your HIIT workout is of the choreographed variety – my weekly routine generally involves HIIT workouts such as Les Mills SPRINT and the Les Mills GRIT Series – you don’t have to go “by the book” to get results.

Heck, you don’t even have to make the journey into the gym. You can do any workout from your own home, especially HIIT workouts.

You might be asking yourself, “do I need any special equipment?” Once again, the answer is no.

Even if you don’t have any bench tops, risers, barbell sets or free weights lying around the house, you can get a great 30-minute HIIT workout using some total-body exercises and cardio circuits.

Before you start, be sure to map out what you want to do, starting with an accelerated warm-up. It shouldn’t be intense, but challenging enough to get the heart rate going a little bit and to get the blood flow going throughout the body.

Some great “non-equipment” exercises to implement into your circuits include, but are not limited to: Squat burpees, different variations of push-ups, plyometric squats and lunges, short sprints (no longer than 75 or 100 meters), or bear crawls.

Don’t forget, even after we do HIIT, we need to make sure we work our core a little bit, so before the end of your workout, devote a 2 to 3 minute circuit to working your core. It doesn’t have to be super fancy – things like rolling planks, hip bridges, hip lifts and mountain climbers work just fine – but make sure it’s challenging enough so you finish the workout strong.

Every time you do a HIIT workout, you’re “chasing the afterburn.” So if you wake up at 2:00 in the morning, wanting to dive into the fridge for a nutritious snack, that means the “afterburn” is working, and you did your HIIT workout right.

HIIT workouts also boost your energy, metabolism and your endurance, so they’re great for all athletes, and yes, that includes you long-distance runners.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up, step outside of your comfort zone and try one or two HIIT workouts a week. You will certainly see a gradual change in your fitness level.

BDN sportswriter Ryan McLaughlin is a fitness trainer at Union Street Athletics in Bangor. Follow him on Twitter at rmclaughlin23. 

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.