High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is all the buzz in the fitness world. The Internet is filled with Tweets about the training technique, and the topic is definitely trending on Twitter in 2014. From Tabata to Crossfit, exercisers are finding new and exciting ways to get in shape. High Intensity Interval Training is just that: a way to get more fit by exercising less with short exercise bouts at the right intensity. HIIT offer tremendous weight-loss benefits, and there’s no doubt exercisers are drawn to the workouts.

Fitness guy HIIT didn’t begin as a weight-loss idea, but researchers and participants quickly learned that pounds were dropping and abdominal fat was diminished much more effectively than with steady-state exercise. While it’s true that HIIT allows you to workout less due to the shorter exercise times, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are taking a shortcut with your workouts. The HIIT workouts themselves are just as named: high-intensity. So instead of running at a constant speed for 30 or 45 minutes, you will be pushing yourself through a grueling 30 seconds or minute of intense, fierce all-out exercise followed by a short rest period.

 Because the effort you put forth is so high, you can expect to burn a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time. Another factor of HIIT that keeps the workout trending in 2014 is the post-workout calorie burn. Your metabolism is boosted and you can expect to continue burning calories after you finish. The cardiovascular benefits of HIIT are great, but you can also translate the workouts to high-intensity circuit training. You can combine aerobic body-weight resistance exercises for 30 seconds to 1 minute followed by 10-15 second rest intervals. Do this for 7 minutes and you’ve got one high-intensity workout!

 Here are some things to keep in mind when trying your own HITT workout:

  1. If you have joint issues, you can still do HIIT workouts, but look for low-impact activities like riding a recumbent bike, swimming, or elliptical.
  2. The shorter you make your workouts, the harder you have to push yourself to get the most benefit. Always pay close attention to your heart rate.
  3. Because these workouts are so intense, you only need to do them 2 times per week. Your muscles will need to recover.

 The best option for HITT is to get trained in proper form and with exercisers on your level to fully understand the nature of the workout and how hard you should or should not be working.