T Nation

Guys how many of you believe you can get a decent HIIT session outside opposed to cardio equipment?

I workout at home and I don’t have a treadmill. I need to burn 20lbs and want to start doing HIIT the problem is I’m wondering how hard is it to perform HIIT on a track. On a treadmill all I normally do is change the speed and it’s done. On a track how do I know I’m using the same speed for my intervals. Have any of you guys have success doing HIIT outside?

In my opinion, HIIT should be done on a track. But I might be biased because I enjoy doing most of my running outdoors. In high school, I did track and cross country sports for 3-4 years and we always did HIIT on tracks. It’s quite easy actually, just use a stopwatch to make sure that all your sprint intervals take roughly the same amount of time and your jog intervals don’t take way too long.

Sprinting is also much more comfortable on a track as going high speeds on treadmills for me is a little awkward and I always feel as though if I am not careful I’m going to fly off.

It’s easier doing HIIT on a track then on gym equipment.

Here’s an article to help you out:

This is Thib’s “Running Man” and it explains nicely how to run/sprint in intervals.

Hi, there, Trying!!!

Quick answer? Get yourself a heart rate monitor if you want to work out a specific (or consistent) level of intensity. As you become more cardiovascularly fit, the perceived level of exertion might go up or down, and cardiovascularly fit or not, the perceived level of effort to maintain a given heart rate varies from day to day.

Sprinting outside is far superior to any HIIT work done on cardio equipment.


I second the heart rate monitor, you can find them on Ebay for about 35 to 50 bucks. I just got one myself and I love running outdoors as opposed to running in place on a treadmill.

Second that, running outside is FAR FAR superior to a treadmill.

Ever done 100% of your cardio on a treadmill and then switched it up by going outside for a real run? It beats the piss out of your entire body. My obliques and abs in particular were KILLING me for days (and I train hard).

No comparison.

I’d go a little further and say that the only time you should do your HIIT indoors on cardio equipment is if you’re rehabbing a hamstring or the track is iced over. You really can’t beat sprints on the track.

I have a stairclimber, treadmill, and exercise bike at home and haven’t been on any of them in a year or more! Do your HIT outside, cardio equipment sux for doing hit. Nothing can be simpler than finding a football field and sprinting the length while walking the width. The combinations are endless.

Oh, and for your speed, use a stopwatch. Eventually you’ll get to a point where you’ll know how fast you’re going.

I’ve done all my GPP/HIIT training in the gym, in my house, outside of my house or on the track. I never use machines, never will (unless I am rehabbing an injury and am forced to do so).

As for sprinting, I prefer running barefoot in the grass!

Read my article on HOC (high octane cardio) if you want a fun and brutal cardio program for cutting up fast.

Mike Mahler

running outdoors is a great way to get shin splints. unless you’ve got an outdoor track, you’re going to be running on uneven surfaces and putting a lot of force on your joints and feet.

The only piece of equipment that comes close is a gym-quality stairclimber that lets you adjust the level of resistence with the push of a button. The stairclimber we have at the house just doesn’t cut it. As for bikes or rowing machines—forget it!!! However, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats a well-surfaced quarter-mile track to help you really crank up the HIIT (:-} And don’t forget—DO NOT go cheap on your running shoes. Spend 70 or 80 bucks and get a quality pair. Your joints will thank you later.

I agree with the dime man. Obviously some of you guys are younger excluding Nate Dogg since I think we’re about the same age (bare foot??). I beat my joints up plenty many years ago running on pavement and now much prefer the treadmill, eliptical, stairstepper, or recumbent bike for my cardio activities, HIIT or otherwise.

I don’t see how ou can effectively do HIIT on a machine.

If possible i’d stay off the track and find some soft grass to run on. It’s much easier on the feet then treadmills (at least for me and I have arthritis in my ankles and feet). The ultimate running surface would be a golf course if you have access.

Well, I’m not younger and I run outdoors on dirt and grass, mostly. Hasn’t seemed to cause me any problems - then again, I don’t do it year-round.

As for timing yourself, dude, don’t worry about it. Using CT’s Running Man protocols, you just go for a minute at a slow jog, then balls-out for 15 or 30 (or however many) seconds. You run flat-out every interval, so it doesn’t matter what your actual time or distance is.

I do intervals on a concept 2 rower and it is brutally difficult.

My intervals are 30 seconds at 300-400 watts(basically, as hard as I can go) followed by 90 seconds at 100 watts. I do anywhere from 4-7 intervals.