Category Archives: Cardio

HIIT for beginners: the 30-30

Equipment Needed

  • Running shoes, track (or)
  • Cardio machine where you can adjust levels (stationary bike, ARC Trainer, Eliptical, Treadmill)
  • Timer

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a cardiovascular workout  that uses cycles of high intensity exercise interspersed with intervals of lower intensity recovery. The best way to think of HIIT is look back at when you were a kid. This is where you run a block, walk a bit to catch your breath, then run again.

HIIT cardio came into the mainstream fitness world starting in the mid 90s. Researchers discovered that using intense intervals over short bursts improved  VO2 max (a measure of aerobic capacity), and improves anaerobic performance. What does that mean in layman terms? You improve your endurance and your strength by doing a shorter, faster workout.

My introduction to HIIT came via the now defunct Muscle Media magazine. In an article by Shawn Phillips, he introduced me to the workout that would help change my life. His method was short and simple. Do a short, intense workout of 30 seconds of all out sprint, followed by 30 seconds of lower intensity recovery. Do this for 4 minutes. That’s it, just 4 minutes. Over several weeks, you add a minute of intervals every few days  until you hit 15 minutes.

I didn’t care about that. All I cared about was 4 minutes. At that point in time, walking up the stairs was hard. Looking at the “simple” cardio workouts in various books and magazines. Even 20 minutes seemed too long. But I could do 4 minutes. I built my life around suffering like a dog for 30 seconds. As hard as it was, I unloaded everything I had into those 30 sprint intervals. At the end of 8 weeks, I was at 15 minutes of work, 20 pounds down, and feeling amazing.

I’ve taken the original Shawn Phillips HIIT and modified it. For this workout you will add a 5 minute warm up and cool down to your overall time.

Downloadable 30-30 HIIT Workout Chart