It is that time of year again, when many people are trying to lose the extra “padding” gained from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. Most people believe the general rule for losing weight is to eat less and exercise more. Therefore, they will spend countless hours at the gym, convinced that running at the same slow pace for long periods of time will be an effective solution. However, many of these people will see little or no physical results and lose the muscle mass that they once had!
The true answer for losing weight is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.
Recently, many people have discovered that it is possible to reach practical workout goals with HIIT at only 20 minutes per workout – almost one-third the time of the average cardiovascular workout!
Though HIIT may require less of a time commitment, this does not mean it is easier (hence the words “high intensity!”) HIIT is actually far more physically strenuous than your average one-hour run.
Rather than saving your energy until the very end of the workout and operating at a medium heart rate, with HIIT you alternate between workout intervals of sprinting and jogging.
With HIIT, you may tailor your workout intensity to an extent to match your running ability. For example, a new runner might alternate between 1 minute of walking and 1 minute of jogging, while a more experienced runner may alternate between 30 seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of sprinting. The effects of these two different workout intensities would understandably vary tremendously.
Have you found it confusing that many marathon runners cross the finish line carrying plenty of extra weight? Studies show that the “normal exercise” of a prolonged jog at a slow pace will workout your aerobic system somewhat, but as long as you have enough oxygen you will experience only little muscle-building fatigue when your exercise is said and done. That is why experts say that running slow for long periods of time helps runners do one thing – run slow.
Why does the HIIT way of working out make such a big difference? When exercising in intense intervals, your body activates its anaerobic system. In this intensity of workout, the anaerobic system allows your body to release plenty of lactic acids and keeps your body from full recovery during rest periods. Limiting recovery like this will quickly tax your muscles and central nervous system – in a good way – leading to faster fat loss and muscle gain. HIIT has also been known to increase a runner's metabolism, allowing the runner to burn more calories during everyday activities!
After beginning a HIIT program, your next workout step should be to determine what intensity level your body can handle, then work your way up to a higher intensity level. You should be able to perform the intervals for about 20 minutes so that you also work out your aerobic system.
There are ample places on the web where you can find examples of HIIT workout routines not only for running but also for weight training! Give HIIT a try to watch your fat melt away and your running speed increase dramatically! Remember, HIIT will not be easy (you should be completely worn out by the end of every 20 minute workout) but you will thank yourself later!