What is it?
HIIT – high intensity interval training – is method of training designed to maximize the benefits of exercise in the shortest time possible making it ideal for time-restrained individuals, for example, medical students. For those of us don’t want to – or don’t have the time to – spend 60 to 90 minutes on the treadmill or lifting weights then this is ideal. All you need is 20 minutes per day to see some real results!
How does it work?
HIIT combines alternating short periods of high-intensity exercise with less-intense recovery periods.
Does the compromise in time lead to compromised results?
NO! This is the best part about HIIT. The periods of high-intensity activity leads a increased number of calories burnt and also forces your body to adapt to a superior level of exercise than a mediocre-effort 60 minute workout. HIIT also increases the “after-burn” effect where your body will continue to burn calories even after you stop exercising.
A 2011 study that was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting demonstrated that 2 weeks of HIIT increased an individual’s aerobic capacity by as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
Will I lose muscle mass?
NO! The short, sharp bursts of exercise combined with the rest periods ensure that the body burns carbohydrates and fat preferentially to muscle
How do I do it?
It’s simple and requires no equipment at all. You can choose any activity – running, swimming, cycling, rowing or even weight lifting – and perform that activity at 90-100% effort for no more than 1 minute and then rest for an equal amount of time – we will call that one round – and then perform as many rounds as possible. If after 20 minutes you are not exhausted, lying on the floor, you haven’t worked hard enough.
For example: jump on a treadmill, set your incline at 2.0 or above and select a speed that is a sprint for you, e.g. 16.0kph. Then sprint at that speed for 30secs and then take a 30secs rest by either stepping off the treadmill or by having an active recovery at a very low speed, e.g. 6.0kph. It is vital that your recovery is a proper recovery – you need to remember that the benefits of this training is reaped during the active phase rather than the recovery phase and by pushing yourself too hard during the recovery, you are compromising your efforts in the active phase.
If you want to make the work out harder you can increase the incline, increase your running speed or – the best way – decrease your rest time.
Just a quick warning that when you first start this sort of training it might make you feel sick or dizzy during initial sessions so its important to know your physical limits and always stay hydrated.
How do I get into it?
If you’re not sure where to start, check out some workouts on the internet, but make sure you know when to push yourself and how far 🙂 Check out http://youtube.com/blogilates or https://www.youtube.com/user/FitnessBlender
Once you get started, it’ll be hard to give it up!! Just keep going!