Most of us don’t want to live to work out, but rather we want to work out so that we can live well. We have goals for what we want our workouts to do for us, whether it is be lose weight, get a better body or improve health. Most of us want to get in and out of our workouts in the shortest amount of time possible, and fortunately, there is some good news. A lot is being said about High Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT. In fact the American College of Sports Medicine asked 3,800 fitness professionals what the top trend for 2014 was, and HIIT was the number one fitness trend. So why is HIIT so popular?
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a pretty simple concept. You do short intervals of exercise at a high intensity and then go down to a lower intensity for a period of time. If you are using heart rate as a measure then the high intensity intervals should be at or higher than 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. HIIT is believed to have been used by athletes as early as 1912.
Why do HIIT?
Research shows that doing HIIT workouts result in more fat loss than moderate cardio exercise. Dr. Steve Boutcher, who led the study, also wrote a book called 20 x 3 Eliminate your belly fat in an hour. Dr Boutcher’s research shows that you can lose more body fat in half the time by doing HIIT instead of steady cardio.
One of the reasons HIIT is so popular is because of the fact that you can spend less time at the gym and still get a great workout. Another reason HIIT is on the rise is it gives variety to your workout because you are doing intervals.
Who can do HIIT?
Athletes have been using HIIT for over a 100 years but as long as you are healthy enough to exercise it is okay for you do HIIT workouts. As with any new exercise program start slow. It may even be wise to have a certified fitness professional help you develop a plan because everyone’s fitness needs are different.
How do you get started?
Choose a cardio activity such as an elliptical machine. Do a five minute warm-up. Gradually increase your intensity. When your body is warmed up, you can do your first high intensity interval. If you are new to this start with very small intervals anywhere from 8 seconds and up. Then do a recovery interval for a little longer than the high intensity session.
So if you start with an 8 second high intensity interval, try out a recovery period of 12 seconds. If you are just starting a HIIT program, 15 minutes should be enough. The ultimate goal is for your intervals to be executed at maximum intensity, a good way to judge this is can you talk while doing it. These workouts should be working you to your max so you need to have rest days. The amount of rest days you need depend on your goals. At first try one HIIT session a week and do steady state cardio on your recovery days. HIIT should be done no more than 3 times a week.
With this information as a starting guide, get out there and HIIT it!
Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. Her children keep her very active. She is a homemaker and enjoys making healthy meals at home for her family. One of her favorite activities is to exercise. She loves reading about health topics and writing on her blog. Cindy takes courses about health through Coursera and ITunes University.
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