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Fitness Simplified: High Intensity Interval Training

10th July 2012
Fitness Simplified: High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a method of training that alternates high intensity exercise with low intensity exercise or rest. A good example of HIIT would be sprinting for 20 seconds then walking for 40 seconds. You can use HIIT to train your aerobic system using cardio exercises like running & walking, or your anaerobic system using strength exercises like burpees. There are many different intervals that you can use, but one of my favorites is the Tabata Method which only takes 4 minutes to complete.

High Intensity Interval Training develops your cardiovascular system in a short amount of time. Although it takes less time, HIIT is NOT easier than traditional cardio exercises like running. It is extremely challenging because you must push yourself to your max, and so it may not be a good choice for beginners. Please don’t attempt HIIT until you can do a session of cardio for at least 20 minutes at about 80% of your max heart rate.

One of the many perks of High Intensity Interval Training is that it enables your body to use more fat as fuel then traditional cardio does. HIIT also has the added benefit of EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption), also known as “the afterburn effect.” This means that you will continue to burn calories and increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours after your workout, whereas cardio exercises have virtually no EPOC. This happens because it takes a long time for your body to recover from the strain of HIIT.

So go ahead and give it a try! Remember to warm up for approximately 5 minutes before starting any strenuous activity and wear a heart rate monitor if you are a beginner. Good luck and feel free to post any questions on Facebook.

I always try to write my blogs in simple, understandable terms so that someone who is new to fitness would understand what I am talking about. For more scientific explanations of exactly what interval training does for your body, visit the websites below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=621
http://www.builtlean.com/2010/06/04/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-best-cardio-to-burn-fat/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/81670-burn-fat-hiit/

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