High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that has been known about for a long time. However, it has really grown in popularity over the past few years as the growing levels of scientific research has shown it is a safe and effective way of improving cardiovascular fitness along with helping with weight loss.
HIIT training produces lactic acid in the body which lowers the pH of the blood. Your body responds by increasing the production of growth hormone which stimulates your metabolism. The more growth hormone your body produces then the more calories you burn every day as your basal metabolic rate is upregulated.
HIIT is based on alternating cycles of high intensity bouts of exercise coupled with intermittent lower intensity levels or rest, repeated several times to produce the desired effect. The exercise used can be running, cycling, swimming and even circuit style training. All of them can be modified to bring about the desired effect.
Why Interval Training?
One popular form of interval training is doing it on a stationary bike where you pedal flat out for 30 seconds before recovering for 90 seconds – the whole interval lasting 2 minutes. You would repeat these two minute bouts 4-8 times in a session. This would give you a very effective workout with a minimal time commitment. With an effective warm up and cool down you could complete the whole workout in under 20 minutes.
You can also do this by running – always get your feet checked out properly first. In your local park you could run for 3 minutes at your usual running pace before running at a much quicker pace for 60 seconds and performing 3-5 repetitions of these intervals. This would be a much more advanced workout than the one performed on the stationary bike for a number of reasons but once again it would prove very effective.
Benefits of HIIT
The benefits of HIIT training are improved cardiovascular efficiency, improved lactate tolerance and also the need for less time investment. You get really good bang for your buck with a 20 minute HIIT session compared to lower intensity exercises where you have to devote much more time to reap the same rewards.
In order to improve your body composition and reduce body fat levels aim for 2-3 bouts of HIIT per week along with some strength training work. This will create a lean, athletic body which is also well conditioned for all other activities. These fitness routines combined with a sensible eating plan can bring about impressive changes in body composition in as little as 8 weeks. Start off slowly and build up these sessions as you’re fitness improves and then move on to the really challenging HIIT workouts.