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HIIT or high intensity interval training has been receiving a lot of attention in the workout world. Why and What is all the talk about? HIIT is a form of cardio training that has been increasingly popular for weight loss and management. It’s not really a new concept, it’s just that all these years of doing half hour walks and eating salads aren’t racking up success on the scale. HIIT is defined as short bouts of high intensity exercises with brief recovery periods repeated several times for 20-30 mins.
As more research studies have been implemented comparing the differences in HIIT versus steady rate cardio, trainers are realizing that HIIT is the best recommendation for overall health benefits.
Why else? Time. People never have the time to exercise every day. People do not want to take the time to exercise, especially if it’s not producing immediate results. The best bang for your buck is to perform HIIT. And while many programs don’t produce immediate results, HIIT often does!
With HIIT or Interval Training people can get better benefits in less time:
Improved Heart Health
Improved Muscle Strength (regular cardio actually tends to decline muscle mass)
Improved oxygen and EPOC
Burns more fat
The concept is not as complicated as it sounds.
Basically, instead of walking, running, bicycling etc. for 30-60 mins. at a steady rate, you’re going to divide your time up into intervals. Working different intensity levels. There are some good guides out there that can direct you on doing these intervals by the seconds or minutes.
How you divide up your intervals is really going to depend on what YOU can safely do, how much time you have, and how intense your high level intervals are. As a beginner, you may want to start with 20 mins. once per week and work your way to 20-30 mins. 2x per week. Because of the intensity, most people aim for not more than 2 sessions per week at 20-30 mins.
A basic guide might look like this:
3-5 mins. warming up – Get up to 50-60% heart rate for your working level
5-6 mins. High intensity – all out 80-90% heart rate
Key note, the max is your max, is your max, don’t go over it! Stay healthy within your limits!
6-7 mins. Low or moderate intensity
7-8 mins. high
8-9 low or moderate
repeat until 18 mins.
18-21 mins. cool down – Gradually decline speed and resistance until your heart rate is back down
Now in 21 mins. you have probably done the equivalent, if not better, than a 45 min. steady workout.
In 10-12 mins. I can rack up a distance of 3 miles on a stationary bike.
If I can’t get to a group class, I use this style of cardio because I dread stationary machines. B-O-R-I-N-G!!! But sometimes I just gotta do what I gotta do. At least this way I can cut my time in half and walk away with just as much sweat! Plus it makes it a bit more interesting than sitting there mindlessly going at the same speed for what seems like hours.
And yes, I personally have had a significant amount of success with weight loss and management from doing interval style cardio.
How you break up your intervals can vary. Think in ratios, using either seconds or minutes. 1:2, 1:1, or 2:1. A 1:1 would be 1 min. high to 1 min. recovery. or 1:2 20 sec. high to 40 sec. recovery. Personally I like to do mine at either 1:2 mins (1 min. high, 2 min. moderate). I don’t like to switch more frequently and keeping my moderate intervals at 2 mins. keeps it challenging enough. A 1:5 min. would not be challenging enough.
A 2:1 ratio is what has been proven to be the most effective.
Now the obvious thing here is these guides make it easy for when you get on a machine. But DO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Just because you’re not on a machine with a timer and button to increase resistance doesn’t mean you can’t HIIT your workout.
If you need resistance, walk or run in a hilly area or carry weights (wrists/ankles). But you don’t absolutely need that.
You may want to carry a timer, almost every phone has one nowadays. You just vary your speeds in the same way you would at the gym.
But I don’t like to run. Actually I HATE TO RUN (yes this is true) and I don’t. I like to do dance cardio or some other form of workout, can I still do HIIT? Most certainly! Low level song, moderate, high, moderate, high, moderate, high, cool down.
You can also use this with bodyweight exercises using a variety of jumping jacks, squats, burpees, lunges, etc. There a variety of guides you can find in a simple search if this is your style.
Why does it work better? It works better because you are getting your heartrate up fairly quickly and your body is going to burn more energy. But you don’t have to endure that high intensity beyond what you can handle. Your body will continue to have a need to burn more energy from the high intensity interval, even when your speed has decreased. A steady rate exercise session does not get your heart working hard enough for the need to burn energy continually. And the intensity isn’t high enough to maintain muscle strength.
Because that energy will continue to burn, you don’t have to put in as much time to get the same benefit.
And now that I have more time, I can use some of the workout session for strength training. The strength training is really what is going to get my body moving and looking healthier.
But don’t do it in that order, do 10-20 mins. of warm-up and strength training, followed by 20-30 mins. of Interval Training and you’ve got a great workout that is manageable!
♥ BE YOU ♥
♥ BE HEALTHY ♥
For more HIIT workouts checkout my pinterest board!