If you play the sport of fitness, you might have already heard of HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) or just interval training. It’s one of the best ways to become/stay fit, manage your weight, and improve your endurance. It’s the reason why we do intervals in our fitness classes like Cycling, Insane Circuits and Powerflex.
Research shows that intervals offer significant health benefits like fat burning and improvements in insulin sensitivity and aerobic performance that you simply cannot get from regular steady-state aerobics. The high intensity of the exercise pushes the body to maximum effort to achieve muscle fatigue and maximum oxygen use in a quick burst. The harder the muscles work, the more oxygen used, the higher the VO2 (the measurement of the oxygen uptake). The closer you work to your VO2 max, the more you continue to burn calories the 48 hours after your actual workout. Periods of max effort combined with periods of moderate intensity allow you to build muscle due to accessing human growth hormone and thus boosts your metabolism.
With any workout program, you should first warm up for at least 5 minutes at a low intensity increasing the intensity gradually to a moderate intensity. If you are new to fitness or have been doing steady-state workouts, gradually increase the intensity over a period of weeks until your body can handle it. The fitter you are the more intense you can work during the interval phase and the rest phase.
There are many varieties of HIIT training based on research and proven by fitness professionals. The following are 2 examples that you can do here at the Y. The recommendation is to do this type of workout only 3 times per week.
Tabata is 20 seconds of high effort like a sprint on a bike or elliptical or burpee exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. It only takes 4 minutes but can be a complete cardio workout.
The Little Method is 60 seconds of high intensity and 75 seconds of low intensity, repeat for 12 rounds, 27 minutes for 3x/week.
Next time you do a cardio workout, I challenge you to do intervals!
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