High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
What does being in great shape mean to you? Is it having a sculpted, defined body, running a six-minute mile, or bench pressing twice your body weight? Maybe it’s all of the above. Or maybe none. But one thing many of us can agree on is we that want to get rid of some excess fat and get more lean.
When it comes to reducing body fat percentage, there is no magic potion. Instead, it takes a commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise. But the type of exercise you’re doing also may play a role in how quickly you reach your fitness goals. One type of exercise that can boost your fitness level is high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
High-intensity interval training is pretty much what the name implies. It’s an approach to exercise that involves doing brief bursts of all-out activity followed by short periods of light exercise to help you recover.
Typically when you’re doing some form of cardio, such as treadmill or stationary bike, you work at a moderate intensity. Your exertion level might be around five or six on a 1-10 scale. But with HIIT, you’ll work at an exertion level of about an eight or nine during the high-intensity interval.
For example, if you are on the treadmill, you would run for one minute followed by one minute of walking to allow you to recover, and then start running again. The actual length of the intervals is up to you. Most cardio equipment has built-in interval programs, or you can design your own based on what works for you and/or with input from your personal trainer.
Benefits to high intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training is effective. According to the American Council on Exercise, studies have indicated that people who participated in HIIT had greater improvement in cardiovascular function than those who performed continuous moderate exercise.
HIIT also tends to burn more calories than continuous moderate cardio. The American College of Sports Medicine reports, compared to other exercises such as jogging, HIIT burns 15 to 20 percent more calories.
But there’s more. Additional benefits of HIIT include:
- Production of human growth hormone, which is key for tissue repair and muscle growth.
- Reduced subcutaneous fat.
- Increased resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after a workout.
- Improved glucose metabolism .
HIIT workouts are safe for most people. As always, if you have any medical conditions, check with your doctor to get the green light to do HIIT workouts. Also, if you’re a newbie when it comes to exercise, start slowly and keep your high-intensity intervals short. Listen to your body and your trainer and don’t overdo it.
Getting started with high-intensity interval training
If you want to get started doing HIIT, choose a type of cardio exercise that you enjoy, such as running, bicycling, or a bodyweight exercise. Start with a warm-up for at least five minutes. After your warm-up, alternate speed and recovery intervals. Do about four to eight intervals. As you progress, consider adding more intervals and/or increasing the length of the intervals.
Interested in adding the benefits of high-intensity interval training to your fitness routine? The personal trainers at Elite Triangle Fitness are here to help you with a program designed for your needs. Call us for a free consultation today!