Did you catch my article in The Anchor last week about the Hamster Wheel? Did I leave you wondering what you should be doing for cardio? If spending more and more time working harder and harder isn’t right, what is?
What if I told you that you could cut your cardio time in half and get the same or even better results?
Quick and easy answer is interval training! Specifically high intensity interval training also known as HIIT.
HIIT is a combination of brief high intensity speed intervals with recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workouts. The key to HIIT is pushing yourself beyond your typical comfort zone with maximum effort for short periods of time followed by a rest or recovery.
There are many benefits of training with high intensity intervals:
HIIT burns more calories than steady state cardio in less time. I see I have your attention now. With HIIT, you will burn just as many, if not more, calories in 15 to 20 minutes as you would in an hour of steady state cardio.
Want to burn even more calories? With the intense exertion of HIIT, it takes longer for our body to recover. With our body’s recovery in superdrive we continue to burn more calories after our workout!
HIIT can be done anywhere and anytime you have 20 to 30 minutes to spare. Better yet, you can do a complete HIIT workout without any equipment.
Sounds great, right? There is a catch. HIIT is not a fitness short cut. You have to be prepared to work hard. If you had intentions of leafing through a magazine or catching up on your favorite television show while doing this cardio you are going to be disappointed. With HIIT training you need to apply all your focus to pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
HIIT routines can be designed for any level of fitness from beginner through advance with endless variations of exercises. However, HIIT is not for the faint-hearted. Anyone suffering from a heart condition, high blood pressure, dizziness or short breath should consult with a medical professional before attempting any type of high intensity exercise.
You do not need to swap all of your cardio exercise for HIIT to gain the benefits. A good balance might be one or two sessions of HIIT per week, along with one or two sessions of steady-state cardio exercise. Challenge yourself and get ready to see some amazing results.