Today I would like to talk about High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT, as it’s called in the fitness world). HIIT, when added to your workout program, is the best way to blast fat away. The top athletes in the world train using HIIT methods in order to maximize oxygen consumption, burn calories, and become as lean as possible.
To get a better understanding of what HIIT is, let’s just break down the term:
High Intensity: For workout purposes, heart rate reaching 80% of your max
Interval Training: Having a specific work-to-rest ratio (i.e. a ratio of 1:2 – 30 seconds on, then 60 seconds off)
So, essentially, you want to work as hard as you can within the parameters of your workout time, and then you want to rest and recover for the resting portion of your interval.
So, why choose HIIT over long bouts of steady state cardio?
There are plenty of reasons to perform HIIT over steady state cardio; however, none is more important than the elevated excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC). Having an elevated EPOC helps you burn more calories at REST (doing nothing) than regular cardio training does. It does this by raising your metabolism for up to 24 hours following an intense bout of exercise. When you perform long bouts of steady cardio, you raise your EPOC as well, but not to the degree that you do with HIIT. The more intense your workout is, the higher your EPOC level is.
To give you a more scientific definition of EPOC, EPOC is basically a process of increasing oxygen intake to correct the body’s “oxygen debt” brought about by exercise. The more intense the exercise is, the greater the “oxygen debt” is. (Note that I wrote “intense,” not “longer,” in that last sentence.) Your body increases oxygen consumption to restore itself to a resting state. To reach a resting state again, it needs to restore hormone balances, replenish phosphagen stores, carry out cellular repair, and oxidize built-up lactic acid.
In addition to the aforementioned positive scientific effects that HIIT has on your body, there are also superficial results that you will see. Take a look at a seasoned sprinter’s body versus a seasoned marathoner’s body. Which athlete would you want to look like? Sprinters are muscular and lean because they lift weights and perform HIIT. On the other hand, most marathoners don’t lift weights, and they burn a lot of their muscle during their long bouts of steady exercise.
To build up your HIIT tolerance, you need to start with a 1:2 or 1:3 work-to-rest ratio and build yourself up from there.
Here’s a sample of a beginner HIIT treadmill workout:
10 seconds on (sprinting) then 30 seconds off—10-15 times
Over time, if performed regularly (3-4 times per week), you will be able to increase your work-to-rest ratio to 1:2.5, 1:2, 1:1.5, 1:1 and 1:0.5. As you become more “in shape,” you will need less time to rest, as your body will be able to recover faster. The workout ratio can be whatever you want, as long as the rest ratio is x times the workout ratio.
Be sure to add HIIT workouts to your routine and watch as you melt fat away session by session. HIIT is the key to being lean and muscular.
Any comments or questions? Email me at Bill@nextlevelnj.com