Be sure and get your free MP3 audio – it’s at the bottom of this article.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves aerobic training that is not constant or continuous. Instead, the training intensity is varied throughout the session and the session is normally shorter than traditional aerobic workouts. This type of training is commonly referred to as HIIT.
It’s not the low intensity aerobic workout (that supposedly burns more fat than high intensity aerobics) that’s important for fat loss. It’s the total caloric expenditure. But while the caloric expenditure during the workout is what matters most, there is a potential caloric-burn benefit beyond the training session for those willing to engage in HIIT.
The contribution of excess caloric burn above your resting metabolic rate after a workout is referred to in scientific jargon as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The EPOC of traditional aerobic activity (conversational aerobics) is quite low. There is little residual caloric burn postworkout after a typical cardio session. However, while resistance training typically yields between 5 and 9 calories per minute (including rest periods between sets) during the workout, you may burn well over 100 additional calories in the 24-hour period following an intense resistance training session. Thus, you not only benefit from the calories burned during a resistance training workout, but from the additional calories expended through repair and remodeling of damaged muscle tissue in the 24-hour period following as well.
HIIT also provides a residual benefit after the workout is complete (kind of like resistance training) and may therefore significantly impact weight loss over traditional aerobic activity. Research has shown that when two groups of individuals were trained with either traditional aerobic activity or HIIT, the group who trained using HIIT lost 9 times the fat but only spent 27 percent of the time doing the exercise (60 minutes per week versus 3.75 hours per week). Talk about time management!
If you were basically inactive until very recently or you have any pre-existing cardiovascular disorders then your “high intensity” parts of an interval should not be all out nor should they be for the purpose of achieving a near-maximal heart rate. Again, everyone should seek a complete checkup by their physician prior to beginning any vigorous exercise regimen.
HIIT is far more intense than the type of aerobics you may be used to. Because of this additional stress on the body there is a chance cortisol (a stress hormone responsible for tearing down muscle if secreted in excess) may elevate if rest between sessions is insufficient.
The HIIT Solution To Boring Aerobics
HIIT commonly lasts from 5-20 minutes and it involves periods of high intensity alternated with periods of low intensity.
Here’s where the traditional aerobic workout and HIIT differ:
– Traditional – Continuous low-moderate intensity for 20-60 minutes commonly
– HIIT – Alternating low-very high intensity for no more than 20 minutes
– Traditional – What you burn is what you get
– HIIT – What you burn is usually higher than traditional plus you get increased metabolism in the hour or so following the interval training
– Traditional – You can carry on a conversation during the full session and even read a magazine sometimes without focusing on your exercise.
– HIIT – You’ll have no desire to speak when you’re pushing hard during the intense “on” periods.
For this 7-minute example at the bottom of this post you can use it for any type of aerobic-based training (i.e., walking, jogging, elliptical, cycling, rowing, stepping etc)
To understand this layout it goes as follows:
First column is minutes. So 0-3 means from the start up to 3 minutes you should start light and build up to a moderate effort.
If you see 3 – 10:50 that means at exactly the 3-minute mark you will work at a high intensity for 10 seconds followed by 50 seconds of light to moderate effort. If you see 4 – 20:40 that means at the 4-minute mark you will work at a high intensity for 20 seconds followed by 40 seconds of light to moderate effort.
This is easy to follow because each interval is ON THE MINUTE and what varies is the work to rest ratio. “Work” refers to the high-intensity part and “rest” refers to the light-moderate effort part.
Minute – Work:Rest
0-3 – Light to moderate
3 – 10 sec:50 sec
4 – 20:40
5 – 30:30
6 – 60:60
I’ve given a FREE MP3 audio to guide you through the HIIT example above. If you give it a try please post the number of rounds you do and your calories burned here. To determine your calories burned you must use a heart-rate monitor OR the equipment you use must have a built-in heart-rate monitor with calories expended available at the end. It’s important you make sure your heart-rate monitor or equipment has been reset to zero or the lap count has been restarted at the start of this session.
Check out HIIT V2 (Tabata) I made too