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High Intensity Interval Training for More Effective Workouts

Sep 11, 2008
Losing weight really has one basic premise: burn more calories than you take in. By inducing a calorie deficit, your body turns to your fat stores for energy. Most people often resort to doing traditional cardio workouts to burn calories. These types of exercises usually involve getting on a machine, like a treadmill or an exercise bike, and running or pedaling at a fast, steady pace for 30 minutes or more. However, these exercises use up a lot of time, and they can be quite hard on your joints, plus the tendency to become and repetitive and boring. A more effective type of calorie-burning workout is the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. It takes up less time, provides variety for workouts, and is a more effective calorie-burners.

Basic Premise of Interval Training

Essentially, HIIT exercises are exercises that vary in pace from a moderately relaxed speed to a very fast pace that requires near-maximal effort. The exercises alternate between 2 to 3 levels of intensity done in short durations. The alternating periods allow your body to perform at higher intensity levels which usually cannot be sustained for prolonged periods of time.

Example of HIIT

An example of an interval training exercise would be to alternate your jogging pace and sprint pace on a treadmill or track. After a 5-minute warm-up period, you will then jog at a moderate pace for 1 minute followed by a sprint run for 20 seconds. This is considered one interval. You will then repeat this alternating jog-sprint interval 6 to 10 times. After 10 intervals, you can then do a cool-down jog for 5 minutes. The total length of this exercise, including warm-up and cool-down, is approximately 16 to 22 minutes.

You can do interval training with any exercise machine, like the exercise bike or the rowing machine.

Feel the Burn

The main advantages of HIIT workouts is that you will burn more calories in less time than you would by exercising at a steady pace for 30 minutes or more. The intervals where you exert near-maximal effort pushes your body's metabolism to a higher gear, thus burning more fat than if you were moving at a steady pace. The relatively longer slow intervals allow your body to recover and prepare for the next high-interval set.

More Efficient Combined Training

The shorter time it requires to do these exercises also means you can fit in HIIT after your weight-training exercises. This will boost your metabolism quickly, without your body lapsing into the post-weights anabolic phase it would if you do cardio. This means that your body will correctly be repairing muscle after both sets of exercises are done. If your body were to lapse into its anabolic phase while you were doing traditional cardio exercises after your weight training, your muscular growth will be impaired.

High-intensity interval training is a more efficient way to lose more weight through calorie-burning. Ask your trainer to help you program HIIT into your training program. Remember, though, that you need to always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
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