High Interval Training to Burn the Fat
High Intensity Interval Training Workouts
HIIT, also known as interval training, high interval training, high intensity interval training, and sometimes referred to as sprint interval training, is a type of cardiovascular exercise training that is designed to improve the body’s performance by using a short sharp training workout strategy. It is also highly beneficial when wanting to burn excess body fat.
High interval training, is simply bursts of extremely intense activity alternated with intervals of lighter, less intense activity.
HIIT works both the anaerobic and the aerobic systems of the body. Throughout the high intensity output, the anaerobic system uses up energy, known as glycogen (which is stored in the muscles), for shorter bursts of activity. The anaerobic metabolism can work without a supply of oxygen. The by-product of this is called lactic acid, and it is this which gives the burning sensation felt deep within the muscles during a high intensity output session.
The body enters something known as ‘oxygen debt’ when lactic acid builds up during the high intensity effort interval. Then during the recovery or resting phase, the lungs and heart work simultaneously to repay this oxygen debt, and they attempt to break down the lactic acid. The body’s aerobic system then takes over, using oxygen to convert the carbohydrate stores into energy. High interval training is a repetitive form of exercise training and ultimately leads to improved levels of. Your heart muscle adapts to the greater workload and gets stronger.
Adding high intensity interval training workouts to your exercise regime, is a popular way of cross training, especially as it can allow you to increase the intensity of your workout without overtraining. Another reason high interval training is so popular, is that it can help to prevent injuries that are often associated with repetitive endurance type training and workouts.
An example of the way high intensity interval training workouts should be performed with an exercise such as running, would be to do 15-20 seconds of hard fast sprinting, alternated with 10 seconds of jogging or walking, sometimes up to 20 minutes in total. I have to say however, that a 20 minute session of high interval training is definitely for the more advanced amongst us. Start with a realistic target in mind – say 5 mins, and as your endurance levels improve, work towards that longer training session.
Always start with a warm up session before starting any high interval training, then perform between 6 and 10 repetitions of high intensity, then medium intensity, then high intensity and so on, finishing with a cooling down period. The high intensity performance should be done at close to maximum output/intensity, whilst the medium performance should be at around 50% intensity.
As you reach a higher level of fitness, your whole HIIT session should last at least 15 mins but no more than 20, with at least 6 cycles of high and medium intensity exercise alternated throughout.
For newcomers to high intensity interval training workouts, it is best to:
- start slowly, eg. walk for two minutes and then run for two minutes, walk for two minutes, etc. However, in general, longer intervals provide more effective results;
- try to keep a steady, but relatively challenging pace throughout the faster pace interval of the high interval training session;
- build up the number of interval repetitions over a period of time;
- to make improvements in fitness levels, increase either the level of intensity or duration period, but never both at the same time;
- make any changes to your high intensity interval training workouts slowly, over a longer period of time;
- always attempt to train on a smooth, even surface to ensure consistent effort levels.
High Intensity Interval Training Workouts – Variables:
- intensity of speed throughout the high intensity period,
- duration – as in distance or time of higher intensity level,
- duration of recovery or lower intensity interval,
- number of repetitions of each high and medium intensity level interval performed.
This type of training is not necessarily appropriate for everyone. If you haven’t been exercising regularly and are new to exercise generally, always consult your physician or doctor before starting any type of interval training. Always start at a low level and work up as you feel capable.
Benefits of HIIT
- Burn more calories and burn more fat. The more vigorous the exercise, the more calories your body will burn, even if you increase the intensity of your training for just a few minutes at a time during each interval training session performed.
- Improve aerobic capacity. You will find that you can exercise longer or with more intensity as your cardiovascular fitness levels improve.
- Variety keeps you interested. Turning up the intensity in short bursts of high interval training can prevent your exercise routine from becoming a stale and boring.