Ever wondered what “HIIT” is? HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This form of cardio has been popularized because of its incredible ability to incinerate fat. HIIT trains both energy systems in combination. This means within a single exercise; you will be training both the anaerobic and aerobic system. Many people tend to focus only one or the other.
What makes HIIT so great?
The best part is that these circuits typically just take about 20-30 minutes to complete. Within this concise time frame, you will burn twice as many calories as you would with a traditional aerobic regime. HIIT is also popular among athletes such as soccer or basketball players. This is because both sports utilize both energy systems, so they are getting the training they need with a single routine. If you didn’t know, the two primary energy systems are the anaerobic and aerobic systems. Any movement that lasts less than two minutes is considered to be anaerobic, and any movement lasting longer than two minutes is aerobic. Anaerobic exercises are typically explosive and high-intensity, while aerobic exercises are repetitive and have lower intensity. Fortunately, with HIIT you get the best of both worlds.
So how exactly do you perform a high-intensity interval training routine?
First of all, always make sure you properly warm-up your body before attempting any HIIT regime. These workouts put a lot of pressure on the joints and muscles so make sure they are nice and warm before starting. The most effective way to warm-up for any exercise is through dynamic stretching. You must, and I repeat, you must avoid static stretching before these exercises. There is overwhelming evidence that static stretching before exercise can reduce explosiveness, and even lead to injury. One of the best, but most effective HIIT workouts is track intervals. Although this is “track” intervals, you can perform this workout anywhere. A track is preferable because it allows you to measure the number of laps you have run. You will start by jogging or walking the straight portion of the track. As soon as you reach the curved portion of the track, you will break out in a 100 percent intensity sprint until you reach the end of the curve. Then continue jogging until you reach the subsequent curve. Repeat this jog, sprint, jog motion for about four to six laps if you’re a beginner.As your cardio advances, you will need to increase the pace of your jogging, and even potentially increase the number of laps you run. This is only way example of a HIIT exercise, but this is the basic design.
HIIT can be performed on a track, treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. Methods that don’t include machines are typically going to be more efficient, but if it’s your only option, then there is no problem. HIIT training is the single most effective methods of burning your fat while maintaining muscle gains. Steady state cardio has long reigned as the ruler of effective fat loss and until recently was universally acknowledged as the best way to rid your body of fat. However, HIIT training has certainly demonstrated that steady-state cardio is NOT the most effective way and provides a better alternative to burning fat AND maintaining your lean muscle. HIIT training is an anaerobic exercise which means that drills or reps are of such intensity that the muscle receives insufficient oxygen to meet the demands of the activity. Such brief high-intensity spurts broken up by periods of rest are known to melt fat for long periods of time.
HIIT workouts elevate your metabolism and promote EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) to burn more calories. You can expect to experience other benefits such as increased strength, endurance, flexibility, joint health, blood pressure, and bone strength. Personally, I believe our bodies have always been best suited and respond to high-intensity stop-start activities. Much like a lion in the wild, we have always been best adapted to short bursts of high-intensity interval activity and rest rather than long endurance activity. Some of the world’s best elite distance runners will gladly share the adverse muscle and hormonal changes that distance running demands from their bodies. A HIIT workout causes the heart rate and energy consumption to spike, which triggers the release of huge amounts of growth hormone and other fat burning and muscle growing chemicals into the body. Intense workouts, such as HITT, also turn the metabolism on full blast, so a higher rate metabolism continues for several hours after your workout is over. It’s not to say that HIIT is an easier way to lose weight and burn fat because it is intense. HIIT does, however, payoff faster and more effectively than any other type of cardio workout. HIIT is also perfect for you if you are tired of performing the same old boring exercises while only getting mediocre results.
If you had the option to workout at just half an hour or less compared to a full hour and burned the same amount of calories, if not more, wouldn’t you go for it? Be warned, however, that the best time to try HIIT training is when you’ve previously conditioned your body with some fitness program. Think of your existing cardio or weight training program as a general warm-up for the extreme workout you are about to undertake with HIIT. Try a low impact routine for a couple of weeks, just to get your feet wet, and slowly ease into HIIT. The reason behind this “transition” is that you don’t want to incur any injuries from jumping into interval training too fast. Here’s the good news – when you’re finally ready to carry out HIIT training, it should be no trouble at all. The principle behind effective HIIT is by merely alternating low-intensity interval training and high-intensity interval training. Let me give you an example: Alternating brisk walking, slow paced jogging, and sprints every few minutes for a total of 30 to 45 minutes can make up a highly effective yet simple HIIT session. Of course, this is just one way of doing HIIT. You can use gym equipment like the elliptical machine, stationary bike, or treadmill when performing these forceful, multi-paced workouts.