HIIT Your Way to Fitness

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of photostock

I’ve recently reached a plateau in my workouts where I work out just as hard as I used to, but am no longer seeing the results. After getting quite discouraged and searching online for what to do, I discovered the best thing to do is to switch up my routine. To do so I’ve begun high intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT. Not only am I getting a workout of a lifetime, it’s making me more energized everyday and I’m actually beginning to see some results. So far it’s a win-win situation.

So what is HIIT you ask? HIIT is similar to interval training only it’s done at a higher level or faster pace and it involves a rest period between high intensity bouts. To perform high intensity interval training correctly, you begin with a 5-minute warm-up followed by intervals of high and low intensity activity. For my workout, I use minute-long intervals where I run/pedal as fast as I possibly can for one minute and run/pedal slowly for the next minute, and repeat. High intensity interval training usually doesn’t last very long – usually only 15-20 minutes in addition to the 5-minute warm-up and cool-down.

So why is HIIT great? The options are nearly endless when you’re considering HIIT. You can do HIIT on a stationary bike, a treadmill, the Stair Master, with weights, or my personal favorite, the arc trainer. Trainers believe HIIT is the best workout method for burning fat and retaining muscle, which is a great flaw of lengthy running routines. HIIT is also preferred by people who are on the go because you’re burning a large amount of calories in a short period of time. Including the warm-up and cool-down, the majority of HIIT routines do not exceed 30 minutes, which is great for people who don’t have a lot of time to workout.

What is important to remember about HIIT training is to do it only 3-4 days a week to give your body time to repair between workouts. Also important is to consider your current fitness level prior to beginning high intensity interval training. If you’re not in the best of shape, don’t start out full-tilt because you could end up injuring yourself. If you’re a beginner do a jog-walk routine and work your way up to a sprint-walk or even sprint-jog routine. Every 4-6 weeks try to mix up your routine to keep your body guessing and working hard. You never know, THIS could be your fat loss answer.

For more information on high intensity interval training, please click here.

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