“Ahh, I don’t have time to work out today.” How many times have you heard this all-too-common excuse? The idea that fitness and weight loss requires hours of gym time every day is one of the biggest misconceptions in the world of exercise. However, high-intensity interval training allows people with the most packed schedule to get an effective workout in. |
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) is a method of exercise characterized by short bouts of intense exertion, followed by a period of less-intense exercise or complete rest. This type of training has many advantages over steady-state, moderate cardio. First, it takes up less of your most valuable asset—time! Who doesn’t want better results in less time?
Second, it’s important to understand that the body first uses glycogen stored in muscles for energy; after one’s glycogen stores are depleted, fat is burned. With moderate intensity cardio, it takes the average person around thirty minutes to burn through their glycogen stores. So, after a 40-minute, moderate intensity run on a treadmill, only ten of those minutes were spent burning fat! However, high-intensity exercise depletes one’s muscles glycogen stores faster than long, moderate-intensity exercise; therefore, HIIT is more effective for targeting fat for energy. It’s this effect of HIIT that makes it more efficient than steady-state cardio.
Now, HIIT can be employed in a nearly endless variety of exercises and activities; I generally employ HIIT using dumbbells, running, or on an elliptical machine. In the following weeks I’ll post a few of my favorite quick HIIT workouts.
The most common question that arises about HIIT training is, “How long should the intervals be?” For me, it’s best to keep the high-intensity intervals anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on the activity. It’s important to remember that a shorter interval requires a more difficult activity to gain the same effect as a longer interval that’s less difficult. For example, if you were doing dumbbell push press during a weightlifting HIIT workout, you wouldn’t use the same weight for a minute-long interval as a thirty-second interval; you would use a heavier weight.
Now that you’re empowered with knowledge of HIIT, use it! As I mentioned earlier, I’ll post a few workouts that are highly effective and efficient, and fit into your busy schedule!
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