Are you exercising for long periods of time to try to burn fat? If you’re like most people you probably are, but there is a better, more efficient way. It’s called “high intensity interval training” (HIIT) and lately it has started to become pretty famous for its obvious health benefits.
-So, just how do you perform HIIT?
Simply put, HIIT is based around this concept: Go fast then go slow. Repeat. You can perform HIIT routines on pretty much any machine you want like a treadmill, elliptical machine, cycling machine, or apply it to almost any sport (swimming, cycling, running). Try to keep the bursts of speed at around 90%-100% of max effort.
Here is a sample HIIT routine:
Sprint 20 Seconds
Rest 10 Seconds
Repeat 4-8 Times
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Repeat 4-6 Times
These are just samples, you can change it however you want (you could even use distance instead of time). Remember though, HIIT is based around the concept of fast bursts of work. Also, to continually challenge yourself and also to continually make progress you should increase the level of effort required. You could add extra sprint cycles to the routine, shorten the rest periods, lengthen the sprint periods, try to run farther in the set amount of time, or (if you are going for distance instead of time), try to complete the distance in a shorter amount of time. When starting out on your HIIT routine, don’t kill yourself the first time though. You may have to work your way up, don’t be afraid to start out at a low intensity with low sprint times and high rest times.
-What Are the Benefits of HIIT?
–Major Increase in Fat Loss
In a study done by Tremblay and other authors, two groups were assigned different training regimens. Group A performed the regular moderate intensity cardio (like jogging or bicycling) for 20 weeks and Group B performed a HIIT routine for 15 weeks. In the end the results of each group were recorded. Group B lost nine times more fat than Group A and in 5 weeks less! (1)
–Increased Lactic Acid Threshold
Lactic acid is that burning sensation you feel when you work a muscle really hard. Lactic acid is a byproduct of the processes your body uses to make your muscles work. When too much lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, the muscles become fatigued. You’re lactic acid threshold is how fast your body can remove the lactic acid in your muscles. When your body can remove lactic acid more efficiently, then you can work the muscles at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before they become fatigued.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely would rather crank it up a notch and exercise for 4-8 minutes in comparison to staring at the wall in the local gym for 30 minutes to an hour jogging…or performing any other slow, and somewhat boring type of cardio.
-So why does HIIT burn more fat than regular moderate intensity cardio, like jogging?
To put it simply, after your HIIT training session is over with your metabolism explodes and tons of calories are being burned. These calories are being burned because your body must recover from the HIIT workout you just exposed it to (the details as to why exactly this happens are pretty complicated, and would take a long time to explain, so I’ll spare you). Just understand that after the workout, not during the workout, is when the fat is being burnt.
HIIT offers people an extremely effective and, as shown by the study done by Tremblay and other authors, a very fast way to eliminate fat. In addition to this, it can increase your muscle’s resistance to fatigue. Although, probably the best part about this type of training is that you no longer have to spend 30 minutes to an hour at your gym jogging away your life on the treadmill.
Here’s a tip: Personally, I enjoy listening to some type of fast paced music while performing an HIIT workout. Doing this can really increase the intensity of your workout, and similarly, the productivity of it as well. Some type of MP3 player usually works best because they don’t jiggle around very much.
If you decide to take up HIIT training you may want to check it out with your doctor first. This type of training is incredibly effective, but it is also very intense.
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(1) Tremblay, A., J. Simoneau, and C. Bouchard. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.
Metabolism. 43:814-818, 1994.
Disclaimer: The information in this article has been provided for educational purposes only. The information contained in this article should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness, metabolic disorder, disease, or health problem. Use of the information contained in this article is at the sole choice and risk of the reader. The author of this article assumes no liability in the event any type of injury or death occurs because of the use of the information provided in this article. Always consult your physician or health care provider before performing any type of exercise routine.