Get Better Results in Less Time With HIIT – Featuring Guest Instructor Miranda Lyle

With the busy holiday season on the horizon, now is the perfect time to try some HIIT workouts! Zenergy guest instructor Miranda Lyle of Park City, Utah, is here with us Sunday, November 5th and Monday, November 6th, offering some special clinics focusing on high-intensity workouts (register here for $ HIIT IT! or $ TABATA Training!) Miranda took some time out to answer some questions we had about her views on HIIT training, and a HIIT offshoot we hadn’t heard of, the Tabata Training Method.

What exactly is HIIT?

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a training strategy that involves alternating low- to moderate-intensity intervals with high-intensity intervals. In other words, you push yourself hard for a brief spurt (say, 30 seconds to 2 minutes), then recover at an easy pace and repeat.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

HIIT has been shown to boost cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories and fat than traditional steady-state workouts (think going one steady pace on the treadmill or elliptical). With HIIT, you consume more oxygen during your workout and up to 36 hours afterward. This leads to increased metabolism, allowing the cells in your muscle to burn calories at a faster rate. Since these workouts are quick, sometimes even 20 minutes will get the job done, and a lot of the time no equipment is necessary.

How many days a week should I do HIIT?
HIIT workouts are intense, so I would never recommend more than several days a week. Your body needs time to recover from the stress. This downtime is when your muscles will build and gain strength. So listen to your body when it needs a break, and try another fun activity.


Miranda leading a HIIT workout in Park City.


Can anyone do HIIT?

Just about everyone – including older adults and individuals with heart disease and diabetes – can benefit from HIIT. There are infinite levels of intensity and we all have a comfort zone. HIIT is about taking yourself outside that comfort zone – wherever on the fitness spectrum you may lie. Before you join: if you’re an otherwise healthy adult who hasn’t exercised for several weeks or more, I recommend that you work on building a solid base of aerobic fitness to avoid injury. Seniors and anyone with heart disease, diabetes or another serious medical condition should talk to a physician before getting started. With all that said, I have taught HIIT with all ages, fitness levels, and workout styles, and people of all ability ranges have been happy with their results.

What is strength-based HIIT?

My favorite kind! It takes the science, focus and principles of HIIT and adds in a strength-training component. This is great for those wanting to improve upon their endurance while toning or building muscle. You can add any weight-bearing exercise to a HIIT workout and – voila! – you’re building endurance along with muscle all in under an hour. That’s one power-packed workout.

What is Tabata?

Tabata is a form of HIIT training following the classic style of high work/short rest. It was created by a Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata, and his research team from the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Tokyo. This style involves doing an exercise for 20 seconds, resting 10 seconds, then repeating the sequence for 8 rounds. You can really challenge yourself by trying to maintain the same number of reps OR higher each round!

What are a couple of HIIT workouts we could try on our own?

I’ll give you three of my favorites:

Workout 1: Countdown 

50 air squats 

40 bicycle (remember good form)

30 push ups

20 burpees (Remember, you can do 5 at a time and take a little breather)

1 minute plank hold

**30 seconds rest between exercises

Do this 2-5 times through and be ready to towel off after!


Workout 2: Minute Blocks

Do as many sets as you can in each block.

–Block 1, 5 minutes: 10 push ups and 10 squats

1 minute plank to immediately follow

1 minute rest

–Block 2, 5 minutes: 5 burpees and 20 second bicycle

1 minute plank to immediately follow

1 minute rest

Do all 2-3 times through. Remember to remind yourself how amazing you are when you count those burpees!! That’s something to brag about!


Workout 3: Ladder Build

Round 1: 5 reps each of squats, burpees, push up. 50 second bicycle, 30 second plank

Round 2: 6 reps each of squats, burpees, push up. 50 second bicycle, 30 second plank

Round 3: 7 reps each of squats, burpees, push up. 50 second bicycle, 30 second plank

Work your way up to 6 rounds increasing the reps by 1 and keeping the core the same…WOW!


Blog contributor: Stacy Whitman