HIIT – or high intensity interval training, has become an increasingly popular way to burn more fat, quicker. And it works.
HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than normal. It also speeds up your metabolism.
“When you do a long cardio session at the same pace the whole time, your body goes into what is called steady state. This means that your body has adjusted itself to the speed you are going and tries hard to conserve energy (calories). You will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and FAT by doing the interval training.” (Source: http://davedraper.com/hiit-cardio-training.html)
So how does one go about this?
It’s not limited to cardio. You can be lifting weights, quickly and intensely for the same effect, and really, it’s a double whammy (strength + cardiovascular training in one).
If there’s anything that makes me feel powerful, and like an athlete, it’s HIIT. You have to WORK, and hustle!
So how hard exactly?
Here’s the thing: HIIT is meant for you to hit MAXIMUM effort. On the “high intensity” part, you are going all out. HIIT sessions should not be longer than 20 minutes, and if you are actually able to go longer than that, you are probably going about it all too easy.
There are a few different ways to perform a HIIT session:
*Be sure your body is WARM. There’s nothing that can do damage like an all-out sprint on cold, tight muscles. Be sure to warm up at least 5 minutes.
Some people like 30 second slow/moderate intensity, then 30 second HIGH. And alternating back and forth for 20 minutes or so.
I typically follow this pattern on a treadmill with a slight incline:
- 2 min brisk walk
- 1 min sprint
- 2 min brisk walk
- 1 min sprint (trying a little faster)
I repeat, increasing my sprint, trying to find my max zone, where I can barely finish the whole minute, then keep going back to that pace till I finish. I’ll walk to cool down after 20 minutes.
I’ve done HIIT on all sorts of machines- elliptical, stairmaster, etc. and I’ve done body weight exercises like Tabata for strength and endurance.
Downside of HIIT: you have to really push it, and you can end up feeling sick.
Plus: you’re done in 20 minutes! Time efficient =)