Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training
So often we are told the key to success in the gym is resistance training, steady state cardio, and a good nutrition plan. Here is the thing, I love weight training and look forward to it. I am not opposed to following a nutrition plan that allots the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to help me reach my fitness goals. However, I hate being on cardio equipment for an hour attempting to burn excess fat to look my best.
I have several problems with steady state cardio and I want to take the time to discuss them.
- First, steady state cardio does not distinguish between burning fat and muscle.
- Second, and maybe it’s me, but being on any machine for 45 minutes to 60 minutes is unbelievably boring.
- Lastly, for some reason the “main stream” believes it’s the only way to achieve your fitness goals.
Improving Efficiency With High Intensity Interval Training (HiiT)
I want to be more efficient with my body fat burn. I want to be more efficient with my time. I want to give everything in my exercise and leave it on the floor. I found High Intensity Interval Training and now I recommend it to anyone reading this article.
High Intensity Interval Training or HiiT, increases one’s metabolism, burns body fat, not muscle, and it is not necessary to perform this routine for an hour. During normal steady state cardio you are performing aerobic exercise over time, where your body will burn fat as well as muscle to provide energy. During HiiT routines you are performing anaerobic exercise (recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers), where your body will burn fat to provide energy.
As a fitness expert I truly see the benefits of this type of exercise and now professionally recommend this training for all of my clients. The only clients I have training steady state cardio are my endurance athletes prepping for competition.
I primarily use two types of interval training routines.
As a retired Army Officer, I know the importance of running to promote an excellent level of fitness. Instead of running for an hour on a treadmill though, I ask that you run for 1 minute at a sprint and the next minute you run at a pace where you feel comfortable to catch your breath. We ask that our clients keep this up for about 30 minutes. This will truly push your limits and get you to that anaerobic state. You are always more than welcome to play with the ratios in which you perform an activity such as a run, the most important part is that you do what is best for you and that you push yourself. We have used 1:2 and 1:3 ratios of sprinting to jogging with clients and have seen great results.
The second style of High Intensity Interval Training that I like to do is 2 or 3 minute exercise routines. I choose 4 to 6 exercises that utilize a series of muscles for a full body program. The exercises are performed for 30 seconds until each without a break until a full round is completed. An example of the exercises we may use for a routine may be pushups, high knees, burpees, and tuck jumps. Performing these exercises back to back at 30 seconds intervals will have you breathing heavy and burning fat! For the most part we ask beginners to attempt to get through 6 rounds and more advance athletes to make the push to get through 10 rounds.
This is not the end all be all answer to complete fitness. We all know the sayings, “abs are made in the kitchen” and “you cannot outrun a bad diet.” High Intensity Interval Training is meant to be performed in conjunction with a good resistance routine and a proper nutrition plan. What I am saying today is forget being bored in the gym. Forget running for hours on end going nowhere. And forget burning hard built muscle for energy. Add HiiT to your routine today and I promise you will not be disappointed!