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How to HIIT your Endurance Goals

Oct 15, 2018

How to HIIT Your Endurance Goals!

Over many years, the human body has found ways to adapt to the environment and perform accordingly to different situations. Whether it’s going on long walks or suddenly bursting into a sprint, the muscles responsible for these actions MUST have a way to maintain energy production and recover properly. Producing your maximum amount of effort for an extended period puts a lot of stress on the body and is not realistically feasible. How do we challenge ourselves metabolically and improve upon our cardiovascular system if that’s the case? The answer is High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.

HIIT is a popular training style that can be used in many different workout scenarios. The goal is to sustain an exercise that requires maximum effort for a certain interval of time. Follow this with either rest or a low intensity exercise. Generally, the action that requires minimum effort will not be as long. Executing intervals on a treadmill, for example, can be done by increasing the speed until you’re running as fast you can for 30 seconds to 1 minute followed by 20-30 seconds of walking. Running is something that not everyone is capable of, however. If this is the case, then walking at a brisk pace or on a high incline is acceptable as well. Remember, high intensity means something different for each individual. It’s all about what YOU ARE capable of as long as you listen to your body and challenge it! So how does HIIT work from a biological standpoint?

Well, the reason why the body can’t endure long periods of its highest exertion is because of a little thing called Oxygen. During exercise, the body will rely on this molecule to break down its Macronutrients to produce energy for the muscles to contract. If the exercise is extreme and maintained for too long, then the cardiovascular system can’t pump Oxygen to the muscles fast enough for them to receive the energy they need. The body will then produce lactic acid which can be converted into a fuel source. Unfortunately, this is not a permanent solution since lactic acid build up can cause issues. It won’t take long before the muscles will start to give out and the pH level in your blood will change which may bring on nausea if it’s not corrected.

Obviously, this is not an ideal situation and those using HIIT want to prevent this. When using this method, you’re pushing your muscles to their limit but then scaling back the intensity at the last second so that your heart and lungs have a chance to saturate your body with Oxygen again. These moments of reprieve will allow you to continue your exercise without having to throw in the towel and can be repeated throughout the session. For those who want to improve their endurance, this is a great program to use! Over time, HIIT will strengthen your lungs, heart, and improve your body’s ability to absorb Oxygen so those long-distance runs won’t seem as impossible. Varying the type of intervals you use is a great way to challenge yourself physically and can keep things exciting, so check out what type of HIIT workouts are available or make your own and get moving!


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