Take Your Fitness Level To New Heights!
For many people, they don’t have 1 to 2 hours of free time to exercise 4 or 5 times per week. In fact, if you have a family, it becomes unrealistic. What if there was a way for you to lose more weight, burn more calories, and actually improve upon your cardio fitness level, while at the same time spending less time at the gym working out? Some of you at first might be skeptical and dismiss this as another fad.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) as its known or high intensity workouts is increasingly becoming more main stream than ever before because of the results people are achieving in a shorter period of time. There is also a growing evidence to show that less can be better.
Although you will spend less time actually working out, don’t be fooled because you the intensity will be harder both physically and mentally. If you have any health concerns or issues, please check with your health care provider.
What is HIIT?
It’s a form of specialized interval training that involves a combination of short periods of intense workouts followed by short recovery breaks. In other words, you will briefly push your body beyond the upper end of your aerobic and anaerobic zone. Although many people associate this to only cardio, the fact is it can be applied to any exercise program.
While there is no specific routine or set procedure for this, a good rule of thumb is 2:1 ratio. This will involve 2 minutes resting and 1 minute of intense workouts. Again, you can design your HIIT in any way you see fit.
What are the benefits?
If offers a number of benefits and advantages for your (aerobic, metabolic, and cardiovascular) over the traditional type exercises including the following:
- It benefits both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. For example, instead of running 5 miles at a constant rate, you would do 1 to 2 minute sprints, followed by a rest period of 1 – 2 minutes. You should try for at least 5 to 10 cycles. If you are just starting out, you may be only able to do 2 – 5 cycles which is perfectly fine. The main point, introduce this 1 to 2 times per week into your workout regimen.
- This type of exercising has been shown to burn more calories because it takes longer for your body to recover. The result you lose more fat than longer periods of exercising – cool hey!
- It also appears from the research, that you limit muscle loss when you compare it to traditional cardio exercises with longer periods of time. Of course, you should be consuming a high grade and premium protein shake after your works.
- Takes less time to work out – so no more excuses about not having time. In fact, as little as 10 minutes 3 times per week will give you good overall results.
The Journal of Obesity published a study in relation to high intensity interval training. Here’s a part of the Abstract: “To determine the effect of a 12-week high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) intervention on total body, abdominal, trunk, visceral fat mass, and fat free mass of young overweight males.”
The results, showed a significant reduction in visceral fat and an improvement in aerobic performance.
- Aerobic power improved by 15%
- Visceral fat reduction by 17%
- Reduction of total fat mass: almost 4.5 lbs.
Keep in mind, that while there is no set fitness program for HIIT, you need to factor in your overall fitness level at the beginning. As well, you will need to consider and evaluate the level of intensity. Some days you may go for a higher level of intensity. To get maximum benefit, you will need to individualize your training program for your own needs.
Based on the various articles that I read and my own experience, it’s best to do high intensity interval training at 3 times max per week. The reason being, your muscles will require a longer period of time to recuperate. Whereas, traditional low intensity workouts, your muscles will recuperate in about 24 hours. So, give yourself about 48 hours in between HIIT workouts.
A Guideline to High Intensity Interval Training
- Warm up for about 3 to 5 minutes
- Exercise as hard as you can for 30 – 60 seconds, followed by 1 to 2 minutes of rest
- Repeat based on your fitness level. Start with 3 – 5 cycles (strive for 8 – 10)
- Make sure you cool down
This is really just 1 component of exercise and getting into great shape. I would encourage you to take a holistic approach to your overall fitness by including the following:
- High Intensity Interval Training 2 to 3 times per week
- Strength training
- Core Training – work on your core area regularly – back, abs etc.
- Stretching – make sure you stretch out your muscles
Overall, try and aim for 4 to 5 times per week of exercise. Combine that with a healthy diet and nutritional program, you will be fit and slim in no time.