High intensity interval training is in it's basic form a cardio session split into short bursts of very hard work. The goal is to pick up the intensity and give it your all for a short time. That's the good news. It's hard but only for 30-90 second bursts. It's work hard, rest, work hard, rest and repeat. When you read the benefits you'll see the appeal.
High intensity exercise boosts endurance, increases metabolism, regulates insulin levels, and burns fat. It's a fast track to getting lean.
HIIT is known for it's calorie burn long after the workout is over. HIIT uses the body’s reserves of energy and, after a workout, metabolism stays elevated and continues to burn calories for hours after the workout. This is due to something called the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. With HIIT, you not only burn a lot of calories during the workout, but because of the high intensity you will continue to burn calories as your body replaces energy and repairs muscle proteins damaged during exercise.
Your body metabolizes fat for fuel during the workout. Plus, and here comes the cool part, during the post-exercise recovery period the body will tap into fat stores for the energy required to restore it to its normal resting state. Yey!
Try HIIT 2-3 times a week and other cardio and weight training mixed in on other days. Depending where you are in your fitness and what your body is used to aim to make HIIT 1/3 of your total workouts per week.
HIIT workouts are based on a perceived exertion scale. Exercise intensity can be measured with a scale of perceived exertion, where 1 is low intensity and 10 is the highest intensity you can tolerate. For the greatest benefits, HIIT should be performed at an eight or higher for periods lasting 30 seconds or less (or to the point of breathlessness). Recovery intervals should be as long or slightly longer than the work interval (or until breathing is quick, but under control).
HIIT routines that involve body-weight work (e.g. push-ups) or added weight, such as kettlebells, medicine balls, or dumbbells, will tone your muscles while spiking your heart rate. This is the recommended way to HIIT. Mix things that elevate your heart rate with some strength building components for the ultimate workout.
Mix 3 that increase your heart rate with 3 that allow you an active recovery period. Perform one cardio (30 seconds) and one strength (30 seconds) then rest 20 seconds. Repeat 2 times with different exercises.
HIIT workouts are fast and fun. Make it fun, whatever that means for you. Jump rope? Hoola Hoop? You can get a great workout in 30 minutes or less. Even a 10 minute HIIT produces results. Our bodies are made to move. This is the perfect type of movement to put your body to the test. You might be surprised at how well it adapts.
Until next time
Be fit, be strong and HIIT it!
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