High Intensity Interval Training

January 12, 2011

            Many people want to get more from their workout routines without adding more time. Exercising in intervals can help you lose more fat, enhance your cardiovascular fitness and improve your athletic performance. This is the reason why high intensity interval training (HIIT) is becoming more and more popular with fitness gurus and athletes.

Let’s start with what HIIT really is – High Intensity Interval Training is a specialized form of interval training which uses a series of short, intense cardio intervals separated by short breaks in between each intense workout. It is different from regular interval training because of the degree of intensity and it is based on maximum effort and not on a specific heart rate.

Actually, it is considered to be the most effective workout technique in producing rapid and dramatic changes to your body and cardiovascular system. HIIT workout can include running, swimming, walking, jumping rope or the use of equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical or stair-stepper. It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes for a full workout depending on your fitness level. Because of its intensity level, HIIT workouts are typically performed only 2 to 3 times per week.

Research studies have supported the notion that HIIT offers twice the benefit of regular or low intensity exercise. Specifically, it can actually help lose nine (9x) times more fat than regular, low-intensity workouts. It can boost metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout, resulting in more fat loss without losing precious muscle mass.

Changing your speed and intensity level every two minutes or so is the key of HIIT workouts. Athletes use this approach to increase power, speed, endurance and stamina for improving their performance. It also increases VO2Max or the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. This allows you to carry out physical activities for a longer span of time.

            However, HIIT is very physically demanding and is not advisable for everyone. It should not be done on consecutive days because your body needs more recovery time. People who have heart and lung conditions need to get their doctor’s advice before trying this intense interval training.

            Experts recommend taking post-workout electrolyte drinks (like Coconut Water) and consuming some protein immediately after the workout to help replenish lost glycogen and repair the muscle tissues. Proper diet should also be maintained for faster energy recovery. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain the fitness of your body, improve your cardiovascular fitness or boost athletic performance, high intensity interval training will definitely get you closer to your goals.


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