HIIT Training: A Fast Workout For Fast Fitness

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4592973010 24ed498af5 m HIIT Training:A Fast Workout For Fast FitnessLet me start of by saying that HIIT training is not for everyone. It’s hard. It taxes you both physically and mentally…Yet, it’s also a lot of fun.

The fun is in the challenge. The fun is when you see someone at the gym pedaling on a recumbent bike reading magazines, complaining to her friend that she keeps gaining weight, you will smile. You’ll smile because you’ll know you’ve done more for your body in 3 minutes than she will do all workout.

You’ll also find the joy in pushing yourself to your limits. When you finish a HIIT workout, you’ll know that you went into the fire and came out made of hardned steel.

What is HIIT?

HIIT, or high intensity interval training as it is called, is a “cardio” workout that emphasizes intense bouts of exercise followed by a rest/recovery period. For example, you might do a hard run for 1 minute and then follow that with a walk or jog for 1 minute. You would repeat this cycle for however many repetitions you plan to do in your workout.

HIIT can be done on a bike, a rowing machine, an elliptical machine, running outside, dragging a sled, doing body weight exercises, or any number of other exercise modalities. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re able to work hard enough on that piece of equipment so that you get your heart rate up to 85-90% of your max heart rate.

And in case you were thinking you could loaf through this workout, let’s be clear, a recumbent bike will not be a good choice for a HIIT workout…Although, the new Glamor Magazine does look interesting, and you might be able to finish the whole thing while you do your training icon smile HIIT Training:A Fast Workout For Fast Fitness

How do you do HIIT training?

The best way to think about a HIIT workout is in terms of work and rest durations and ratio. Don’t worry, no complicated math here. It’s simple, for example, one minute of hard work followed by two minutes of recovery is a work to rest ratio of 1:2.

A 1:2 ratio is also a good starting point for people who have been exercising for a while, but are new to HIIT. As you get more fit, you can reduce the rest time down to 1 minute, so that your work to rest ratio is 1:1.

What should you do during your rest/recovery period? That’s a good question. For people who are new to HIIT, you might want to walk during the rest period, or pedal slowly if you are on a bike. For people who are interested in losing weight, I would recommend a slow jog during that time so you burn up more calories.

When doing HIIT, it’s important that you really push yourself during the work phase of the workout. I like to use a heart rate monitor to measure the intensity, and because it helps keep me honest. I know that when my heart rate is over 160, I am really working hard, and I am going to get the benefit.

A heart rate monitor is not required, though. You can use your own judgment and measure your effort on a scale of 1-10. Your perceived work effort should be around 8-10. During the  recovery period, your effort should be around a 4-6, or even less if you are just getting started.

Does HIIT burn more fat than normal cardio?

I did a comparison of three different types of cardio work in this article What’s The Best Cardio Plan To Burn Fat and came to the conclusion that HIIT is a very time efficient way to exercise, and it’s very effective for losing weight.

You can burn a lot of calories with HIIT, if you do enough work for a long enough period of time. But, beware, there is some misinformation about high intensity training that seems to have spread around the internet. The claim is that you can lose weight doing 5 or 10 minute HIIT workouts.

Oh that this were true…We’d all be lined up for our chance to be on Bay Watch, just so we could show off our abs. Of course, this claim isn’t accurate. You simply can’t burn enough calories during such a short workout to make a difference.

Now, I know proponents of these short workouts believe that you will burn huge amounts of calories after your workout due to due to EPOC, or what is often called the afterburn effect. But, you won’t get the benefit of a good afterburn with these silly little workouts.

Afterburn calories are significant only if  you workout at an intense pace for a longer period of time.

EPOC is related to the intensity and duration of the exercise work bout, i.e., the greater the intensity and the longer the duration of a training session, the greater the EPOC. Thus, a high intensity exercise session will have high EPOC, while low intensity exercise will have low EPOC. – http://fitstop-lab.blogspot.com/2008/04/hrv-epoc-training-effect.html

Here’s the thing to note about EPOC and afterburn that most people miss: it comes down to intensity and duration, and not just intensity. Plan on doing your HIIT workout for 20 minutes or more, if you want to reap the benefits and lose weight.

When should you do HIIT?

Due to the intense nature of HIIT, you really need to think about how it fits into your overall program. For example, HIIT is not the type of exercise you do everyday. You need adequate amounts of rest between HIIT sessions, or you will overtrain.

I’d suggest doing a HIIT workout 2-3 days a week. On the other days, you may wish to add steady state cardio to the mix, so that you burn more calories and develop your aerobic engine. Or, you could take the dog for a long walk, play frisbee, or do some other type of fun activity that also burns up some calories.

I like to do my HIIT sessions after my weight workout. The HIIT workout is only 20-30 minutes, so I find it’s easy to slide a HIIT sessions in after I have finished up with the weights.

What I don’t recommend is doing HIIT and then lifting weights. You will be too fatigued to retain proper form, and will wind up getting injured.

A HIIT Program For The Beginner

HITT workouts don’t need to be complicated to be effective. In fact, this simple workout plan is very effective for the beginner:

Weeks 1-3:
4 repetitions of 1 minute of work followed by 2 minutes of active rest. Do a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.

For this break in period keep your maximum perceived effort during the work period to about an 8. During your rest period, you should do as brisk a walk as you can handle.

Weeks 4-6:

6 repetitions of 1 minute of work followed by a 1-1/2 minutes of active rest. Do a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.

Try to work at a perceived effort of 9 on a scale of 1-10. During your active rest period, jog at a very light, easy pace.

Weeks 7 and 8

8 repetitions of 1 minute of work followed by 1 minute of active rest. Do a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.

Try to work at a perceived effort of 9 on a scale of 1-10. During your active rest period, jog at a very light, easy pace.

I hope this has given you the desire to add HIIT training to your workout. I truly believe that HIIT is one of the fastest ways to improve your overall fitness and lose weight.

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