The Perks of High Intensity Interval Training

 In Blog

Do you wish you could spend less time exercising all the while burning more calories?  Well, its possible!  Consider adding interval training to your exercise routine.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been widely used by elite athletes and fitness buffs alike and is now becoming a powerful tool for the average exerciser.

Interval training is not difficult; it is actually a quite easy and time efficient way to exercise.  The mainstay of interval training is alternating short bursts of intense activity followed by intervals of lighter activity repeated during one exercise session.  For example, you could intersperse jogging with intervals of sprinting or, if you prefer walking, you could walk at a normal pace and alternate with periods of brisker walking.

Interval training is more effective at inducing fat loss and building lean muscle than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration.  This is because high intensity intervals boost your metabolism by stimulating muscle fatigue and inducing fat loss.  This form of exercise exhausts carbohydrate reserves stored in the muscles (glycogen) fairly quickly causing the muscles to look for alternate sources of energy.  The only area the body can turn to for an alternate energy source is the fat reserves in the body. This results in fat reduction and weight loss.   Furthermore, when you max out your workouts your body uses more oxygen, which it has to restore later on.  It is the oxygen restoration process that burns calories post-workout as your body continues its efforts to repair itself.  The calorie burning process remains active for many hours after you’re done exercising.  The more intense the exercise, the longer you will be in a fat burning stage, even after you are done exercising.

Interval training has other benefits besides burning more calories and building lean muscle; it also improves aerobic capacity and cardiovascular fitness.  It provides a fun alternative to boring and mundane exercise routines.  Additionally, you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment to do it, simple modify your current regimen.  Interval training helps to avoid injuries from repetitive overuse; this is because you are switching type of activity versus continuing the same motion repeatedly.

As with any exercise routine, it is important to assess your current level of fitness so as to avoid injury or strain.  Here are some tips to start incorporating HIIT routines into your current workout:

  1. Warm up for 3-5 minutes before starting intervals
  2. Assess current level of fitness and set realistic training goals
  3. Start slowly and use longer intervals, for example 2 minutes of recovery or slow activity followed by 2 minutes of intense or burst activity
  4. Challenge yourself during the interval and keep a steady pace
  5. Build the number of alternating intervals overtime.  To start, try 3 repetitions
  6. When you are ready to challenge yourself increase either intensity or duration of the burst interval but not both at the same time
  7. Make changes over time to avoid strain and injury and encourage efficacy of training

For some ideas on HIIT workouts check out

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