How to Effectively Engage in High Intensity Interval Training

Get in Shape, Fast!

HIIT workout
Sheldon McBee

Author Bio: Sheldon McBee Les Mills International Master Trainer & North American Program Coach for LES MILLS GRIT®. Sheldon McBee is the North American Program Coach for LES MILLS GRIT® Series and a Les Mills International Master Trainer.  Sheldon brings 15 years of fitness experience to Les Mills, coupled with a stellar educational background; a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Delaware and a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Albright College.

His emphasis on functional and high-intensity training laid the ground for his work as a global instructor. In that role Sheldon teaches workshops and advanced training for LES MILLS® instructors throughout the U.S., Russia, Slovenia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico. He leads the LES MILLS GRIT® team, where he applies his invaluable expertise to provide input for certification training and continuing educational content.

Check out an at-home HIIT workout from Sheldon McBee >>

Being fit and healthy is rewarding beyond limits. You can improve your quality of life, longevity and self-esteem, among many other benefits. It requires hard work, dedication and dialing into a healthy lifestyle that works for you.

More and more people are looking for the most efficient way to get in shape. We know this by the remarkable shift in fitness trends we’ve seen over the past three years.

The dramatic rise of functional training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as top fitness trends have changed the fitness landscape because people are getting fitter, faster.

HIIT is characterized as repeated bouts of exercise at high intensities with planned, quick recoveries. These workouts are short and intense but pack a huge punch when it comes to delivering fast results in less time. Research supports that people who include HIIT in a training routine significantly increase fat loss, cardiovascular capacity and metabolism when compared to traditional exercise alone.


One of the best ways to get this desired effect is to select a series of integrated exercises (meaning they simultaneously activate multiple large muscle groups, such as the quads, glutes, hamstrings and core), then perform them in a circuit of short, fast intervals. These exercises are typically highly functional because they require use of the core for power or control of the upper and lower body. This creates a significant spike in heart rate and muscle fatigue that is characteristic to the HIIT experience.

While there are lots of ways to integrate HIIT training into an exercise routine, one excellent way to get more "bang for your buck" is to incorporate weights into your HIIT programming. Using weights enables you to get creative with your routine, expanding your movement options while also requiring more muscle engagement and core stabilization.

The trick to strength training during HIIT is to select exercises wisely while also using an appropriate amount of weight. Since most HIIT exercises are active, full-body movements, it's prudent to keep the weight used relatively low to avoid excessive impact or injury.

Dumbbells, weight plates, medicine balls and kettlebells are all pieces of equipment that can be incorporated into an HIIT training session with ease.

Check out Sheldon's At-Home HIIT Workout Routine >>

If you don't currently have access to weights at home, consider the LES MILLS SMARTBAR™. In addition to being used as a weighted barbell, the LES MILLS SMARTBAR™ weight plates are removeable, and have been specifically designed to be comfortable to hold. They're also versatile and come in a variety of sizes to suit different fitness levels. They can be placed on a LES MILLS SMARTBAR™ as weight plates, used as hand-held dumbbells or for kettlebell-inspired movements.

Continue Reading