“HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING - HITT”
What Is “HIIT”?
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is any workout that alternates between “high intensity work with maximum effort” followed by periods of “lower intensity work”. It is basically a way of doing cardio which involves going at a “very high pace” for a while, and then going back to a “normal pace” so that you can recover, and then repeating.
An example would be, running for 1-minute at high intensity (Level 9 on a difficulty scale of 1-10) followed by a 1-minute walk/jog at lower intensity (Level 4-5). A good rule of thumb is if you can still “carry on a conversation” during the high-intensity part, then you’re probably not going hard enough.
Why Is 30-Minutes Of HIIT Better Than 60-Minutes of Steady-Pace Cardio?
Burns More Fat: A high-intensity workout puts your body into an “oxygen deficit” which basically means that your body has to breathe very hard to catch up to the level of intensity that is placed on it. Your body and heart are forced to work more in order to bring your heart rate back to its normal levels, and you need to burn more calories to do so. That’s why a 30-minute HIIT session is so much more efficient than a 60-minute steady-pace cardio; because it optimizes your calorie expenditure and promotes fat burn by boosting your metabolism and helping your body oxidize fats and carbohydrates at a much faster pace.
You Keep Burning Calories “After” Your Workout: High-Intensity Interval Training cranks up your metabolism and increases your “Resting Metabolic Rate” for up to 24-38 hours following your workout. This metabolic disturbance (also known as the “after-burn effect”) will help you keep burning calories post-exercise. As mentioned above, HIIT puts our body into an “oxygen deficit”, because our oxygen uptake during the exercise is NOT proportional to the heat expenditure. To help restore the body to a “resting state” and adapt it to the exercise just performed, our body uses EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which means that it has to keep working (more energy = more calories burned) even after your cardio session ends.
Time-efficient: HIIT is ideal for a busy schedule. While most people are trying to lose fat by jogging on the treadmill at low-intensity for 45-60 minutes, you can be done in 20 minutes and still burn more fat.
Healthier Heart: According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of steady-pace endurance training.
A SAMPLE 6-WEEK HIIT PLAN:
Aim for 3 cardio sessions per week.
Always WARM UP before your cardio session to increase the blood flow and loosen up your muscles & connective tissues, and COOL DOWN at the end of your session to gradually bring your heart rate back down.
Week 1: 20 minutes; 20 seconds ON (high-intensity) / 40 seconds OFF (low-intensity)
Week 2: 20 minutes; 30 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF
Week 3: 20 minutes; 45 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF
Week 4: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 60 seconds OFF
Week 5: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 45 seconds OFF
Week 6: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF
HIIT is not easy, but it is efficient and worth the try. If you want physique-changing results, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and HIIT will do just that. Don’t forget, if your workout doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t really change you.