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Thursday, May 13, 2010

HIIT Training...what is it?

HIIT Training...what is it?
how to turn YOUR body into a fat burning MACHINE!

did you know that HIIT is 9x more effective at burning fat than endurance cardio?
There are so many fat loss and fitness articles that talks about the value of interval training for fat loss. In fact the term HIIT (for High Intensity Interval Training) is thrown around so much that many people just assume they know what it is.

What is HIIT? How can we use it to help us get fitter and leaner? What are some different workouts that we can try?

Well, if you are a fitness nerd like me, you want to know the here it is:

A recent study, done in Canada at McMaster University and often referenced as the Gibala Study after lead researcher Martin Gibala, compared 20 minutes of high intensity interval training, consisting of a 30 second sprint followed by a four minute rest, with 90 to 120 seconds in the target heart rate zone. The result was amazing. Subjects got the same improvement in oxygen utilization from both programs. What is more amazing is that the 20 minute program only requires about two minutes and 30 seconds of actual work.

A second study that has become known as the Tabata study again shows the extreme benefits of interval training. Tabata compared moderate intensity endurance training at about 70 percent of VO2 max to high intensity intervals done at 170 percent of VO2 max. Tabata used a unique protocol of 20 seconds work to 10 seconds rest done in seven to eight bouts. This was basically a series of 20 second intervals performed during a four-minute span. Again, the results were nothing short of amazing. The 20/10 protocol improved the VO2 max and the anaerobic capabilities more than the steady state program.

From ...

What does this mean for us??

Here's the deal, low intensity training only burns fat calories for the amount of time you are working out. This means that as soon as you stop exercising, fat burning basically stops. BUT! High intensity training will spike your metabolism and keep it spiked for the rest of the day, sometimes up to 24 hours! This means that you will continue to burn calories and fat all day long. This is called the afterburn effect. With HIIT training, fat is not burned much during the workout, rather it is burned for the rest of the day. That is a powerful fat burning system and one that really works. This sustained oxygen consumption is known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or oxygen debt.

Here are some examples of HIIT

sprint 30 seconds

rest 90 seconds

6 – 8 sets
remember, beginners, your sprint can be a SUPER FAST walk, you don't have to run, as long as you increase your effort....


sprint 30 seconds

rest 60 seconds

8 – 10 sets


sprint 30 seconds

rest 30 seconds

10 – 12 sets seconds

Most beginner workouts start with 30 seconds workouts, If you are beginner please make sure that you stretch, warm up and warm down properly for every workout.

HIIT is not only great for fat burning but also has other great
 “side effects”

Increased Lactic Acid Threshold - Lactic Acid is that burning feeling you get when you work out very intensely. Increasing this threshold means you will be able to do more work, at higher intensities, which means more fat burning and better results.  

Shorter Workouts - Which would you rather do, spend 30-60 min. working out while listening to your high energy dance mix MP3, or just 4-12 minutes of increased intensity while listening to AC/DC and then you are done? (AC/DC is not a requirement, by the way, but is a great addition to this kind of workout!)

Improved Cardiovascular System - While trying to recover between interval bouts, your aerobic system has to work hard to overcome the oxygen debt caused by the lactic acid. This in turn helps to increase your aerobic capacity as well. Your over all cardiovascular system will be better off. So not only is your anaerobic system worked, but your aerobic system is as well. By the way, this is how most athletes train.

HIIT is basically the alteration from high intensity to low intensity training. It can be done with any facet of exercise, have it be running around the track, on a bike, in a pool, on a treadmill, using an elliptical, etc. There are no set time limits you must stick to, just as long as you alter the intensities.

To create your own HIIT workout, keep the following parameters in mind:

1. The workout should include short, intense bursts of activity
2. These should be followed by periods of active recovery - you will still be exercising, but at a lower intensity to allow your heart rate to return to normal
3. HIIT sessions typically should not last more than 20 - 30 minutes

Tips & Warnings

Don't rush into this workout. Start your training with just 5 maximum speed intervals and work your way up. You'll find that the more you do it, the shorter your rest breaks will be.

Don't go overboard. Doing just 10 maximum speed intervals is enough to keep your metabolism high for at least a day. Any more, and your body isn't going to respond well.

Don't do HIIT on consecutive days...keep it to 2 - 3 times a week

For more advanced exercisers, sprinting can be on of the best HIIT exercises and is best when done around a track. One way to train on the track is to sprint the straightaways and walk the corners. Do this for a mile, running as fast and as hard as you can on the straightaways.

Like any exercise program, it's no good unless you have the proper diet. Stick with your HIIT training and eat well, and you'll see the pounds start to come off in no time.

Always make sure you are healthy enough to start any new exercise plan. HIIT will elevate your heart rate. Check with your doctor to make sure you're healthy enough to start this program.

The HIIT approach to cardio exercise is very physically demanding and isn’t for everyone. If you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise or not already in good shape, HIIT is not for you—at least for now. If you have any doubts or concerns about whether it might be safe for you, check in with your medical professional before trying HIIT.

REMEMBER!! Stay hydrated and drink lots of water following your workouts~

Do you ever include intervals in your training? Have you ever tried HIIT, if so, what did you think?

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