Interval Training…what? How?

running track

Ever heard of interval training, otherwise known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?  Yes, Virginia, there is a science to it!

The science behind it is twofold:

  1. High intensity: By doing a quick “burst” of maximum effort in exercise during a workout, you maximize muscle fatigue as well as oxygen utilization (and using this oxygen is what burns calories).  You see, the harder you work (as in ALL OUT effort), the more oxygen your muscles require.  By bringing your body to maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) you actually create an afterburn effect!  This is simply where your body will continue to use oxygen, hence burn calories (5 calories for one liter of oxygen) up to 48 hours AFTER a workout.  WOW!  That’s some bang for your buck!
  2. Interval Training:  This is where you alternate between periods of high-intensity effort in your exercise with low-moderate intensity for 20 minutes total.  This builds new muscle faster.  And we all know that muscle BOOSTS METABOLISM!

By combining the above, you maximize fat-burning AND muscle-building via significantly shorter workouts. HIIT affects muscle tissue at the cellular level and studies actually indicate that 27 minutes of high intensity interval training workout, three times per week, produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of a steady cardio workout five times per week!  Read that last sentence again and let that sink in!  The implication?  You CAN do exercise in such a fashion that you burn the MAXIMUM calories in the LEAST amount of time!  So stop wasting time in your workout regime!

Okay, now to the nuts and bolts of HOW you do interval training? 

  1. High-intensity burst of exercise for 1 minute
  2. Low-moderate intensity of exercise for 3 minutes.
  3. ANY cardiovascular fitness equipment can be adapted to the HIIT method by simply alternating short periods of ALL OUT EXERTION with longer periods of light to moderate activity.
  4. HIIT EXAMPLE WORKOUT:   Start with a three-minute warm-up, then sprint for 60 seconds, jog/walk for three minutes. Perform five cycles to total 20 minutes (or six cycles to total 24 minutes, or 7 cycles to total 28 minutes) for a complete workout.
  5. Keep in mind you can do this with strength training as well!  Simply alternate periods of weightlifting (lifting weights eight to ten times to exhaustion) with 60 to 90 seconds of cardiovascular exercise (jogging or walking on a treadmill, jumping rope). Complete a full-body circuit for a complete interval training workout.

So… it’s only 20 minutes!  You can do ANYTHING for 20 minutes, right?  Now get on it!





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