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HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Fat Loss

Updated on February 22, 2007

The HIIT Revolution

High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT, Power Cardio- whatever you want to call it, it has become one of the top picks for fitness trainers and is opening doors to fat loss for people everywhere. Why? Because of the following HIIT is right for EVERYONE! Everyone from the experienced bodybuilder to the post baby woman can reap the benefits of HIIT.

The four major benefits of HIIT are:

  1. Burn more calories by elevating your metabolism so you lose fat faster
  2. Increase your power
  3. Increase your speed
  4. Increase your endurance

I know at this point I am probably sounding a like little Richard Simmons trying to get you to jump on the fitness bandwagon- but if there was ever a bang wagon to jump, this would be the one. We all seek better workouts and we all seeks ways to get the most out of our workout (especially in the shortest amount of time) and HIIT can really provide those answers.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

What is HIIT And Why does it Work so Well?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the concept of training in intervals, each interval at a different intensity. Different HIIT programs work best for different people, but everyone can benefit form working out are varying levels of intensity (see example programs below). When you complete a cardiovascular session at an unvarying intensity for the duration of a workout your body enters a 'steady state'. This is a state at which your body has adapted itself to the speed you are going and conserves energy. When you complete HIIT you do not allow your body to enter this state and thus allow yourself to burn more total calories in less time. Also, HIIT training is performed at a high intensity which raises your heart rate faster and raises your metabolism longer after the workout. The overall length of your workout are much briefer in duration than your typical aerobic sessions. Some studies, such as one by Laval University, state that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio helps subjects lose/burn nine times more fat than those who trained the traditional way. It makes you wonder why anyone told you to train at a slow pace for a long period of time!

Example workout:

  1. Pick any type of cardiovascular method (running, swimming, recumbent bike, treadmill, elliptical machine, etc).
  2. Make sure you take some time to warm up to get your body temperature raised before you begin.
  3. Now begin your cardiovascular training at 75% of your maximum ability, stay at this pace for MHR intensity for 30 seconds
  4. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  5. Now raise your intensity to 80% for 30 seconds.
  6. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  7. Now raise your intensity to 85% for 30 seconds.
  8. Now bring your intensity down to 30% for 90 seconds.
  9. Continue to repeat these steps, each time bringing your intensity level up.

The key step to HIIT is not allowing your body to adopt, adapting to a certain level of intensity will allow your body to fall into steady state and it will begin conserving rather than burning fat. Keep changing your pace, and pushing yourself through each interval. No matter what your fitness goals, HIIT is one of the best ways of helping you achieve them. And the variations are endless. You can vary the training parameters (exercise to rest ratio, number of intervals) to make the workouts harder or easier, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. You can also use any number of exrecises for your training, such as cycling, sprinting, treadmill, elliptical trainers, jump rope, rope climbing, hill sprints, and more.

The Scientific Research

A study performed by Jeffery W King, of East Tennessee State University, published May 2001 provided the proof HIIT. The study showed that HIIT increases resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours. This means that not only do HIIT workout increase metaoblism and help burn fat during the workout, but they continue to do so for 24 hours continuing the workout. For the full study follow the link provided below.

The Future of HIIT

Many think that "Fartlek Interval Training" (FIT) is the future of HIIT. While both HIIT and FIT use changes in intensity, tha major difference is that Fartlek training uses a RANDOM changes in both time and intensity. You won't know what is coming, machines will be programed to create random workouts (some aerobic machines are designed to do this already) The Fartlek doesn't give you body (or your mind) any time to adopt, you don't know whether a faster interval or a slower interval is coming, so your metabolism and enegery stay on high!


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