Intensity Interval Training
A trend in fitness training these days is high intensity
interval training, sometimes called HIIT. Although it's been around for many years, it seems to come and go as a favorite trend.
It’s a variation on
the many aerobic workouts you can do to promote better cardio health,
lose fat and increase lean muscle tissue. It can also have other health
benefits - latest research indicates that it can help people with
diabetes, better manage diabetes. Although it’s
similar in style to more traditional interval training techniques,
there are also important differences.
Understanding High Intensive Interval Training
High intensity interval training focuses on very short sessions of
alternating moderate and maximum aerobic workouts. The varying
intensity of the cardio workout improves your body’s ability
to burn fat. Studies have shown that when you work out at a
steady pace for 20-30 minutes or more, your body actually
begins to conserve fat stores in an effort to protect the body, since
it doesn’t know how much it needs to conserve for the long
haul. Varying the intensity of your workout in two or three minute
intervals, on the other hand, essentially confuses the body –
it doesn’t have time to adjust to the swiftly changing
demands of your body.
There are several positive side effects to HIIT. In addition to
improving the efficiency of fat burning, it also decreases the amount
of muscle mass being burned as calories, making your workout more
targeted and more efficient. You can also burn more calories in a
shorter period of time. A good high intensity interval training workout
takes around a half hour and gives you the same benefit as an hour
long, more traditional program. You’ll also improve your
body’s oxygen consumption and processing capabilities.
It’s crucial to understand that HIIT isn’t for
everybody. While almost anybody can do some type of interval training,
whether it’s treadmill workouts or jogging, walking and
sprinting in the park, anyone who isn’t already in decent
shape should work up over several weeks or months’ time
before trying HIIT. Anyone with cardiac problems should consult a
physician before engaging in this high intensity form of exercise.
Getting Started with HIIT
Keep in mind that high intensity interval training doesn’t
mean simply increasing your walk to a brisk jog and then back down
again every few minutes. The more intensive phases of HIIT require you
to push yourself to the limit – you have to be performing at
your maximum heart rate range. A 2:1 HIIT ratio means if you jog for 2
minutes, you need to sprint at top speed for one minute, then drop back
down. If you need more recovery time (your heart rate should return to
about 65% during recovery), try a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. The key is to
really push yourself during the max workout intervals.
Typical beginner’s HIIT treadmill workouts can be completed
in a half hour. One session might look like this:
5 minute warm up
1 minute maximum capacity workout
2 minute recovery/moderate workout
Repeat 1 and 2 minute sessions 5 times
5 minute cool down
Your warm up and cool down are essential to the workout. Skipping
either one will reduce the effectiveness of your workout and can lead
to injuries, since you’ll soon be pushing your body to the
max. Over time you can increase the length of each interval, but keep
the times relatively close in length; for instance, a two minute max
followed by a five minute moderate interval. No interval should ever go
beyond five minutes. You can make an HIIT exercise program last as long
as 45 minutes when you’ve progressed over time, but any
longer than that and you aren’t getting any additional gain.
The true beauty of high intensity interval training? Knowing that your
treadmill workouts are not only more effective, they are even helping
you burn more calories while spending less time on the treadmill.
About the Author:
Kevin Urban is the editor/webmaster at TreadmillTalk.com, a site
reviews and tips on treadmill
workouts. See their best
treadmill buys for 2017 in four different categories.