March 25, 2014

HIIT It or Quit It

I'd like to introduce you to my good friend -- HIIT -- High Intensity Interval Training.


Imagine 10-15 minute bursts of vigorous exercising 2 to 3 times/week that has MORE BENEFITS than an hour long run...

Too good to be true?

It's 100% true and more.

High Intensity Interval Training

This is primarily composed of 30-45 seconds of sprinting, cycling, stair climbing, etc at your maximum intensity, and then 30-60 seconds of low intensity walking or jogging.

For example, for 45 seconds sprint at about a 12 on a treadmill or an all out sprint somewhere outside, then reduce it down to a 3.5 and walk for 60 seconds. Are you wondering how fast a "sprint" actually is? Imagine you're being chased by a mountain lion and run that fast.

Repeat 3-8 times.

What does this do for you?

- Increases your anaerobic fitness level (endurance training only works your aerobic level, but you need to work both or you're just half assing your time at the gym)

- Raises your HGH (human growth hormone). At age 30, this hormone declines rapidly. This hormone is what keeps you fit, healthy, and young. Looking for anti-aging secrets? Here it is and it's free. Doing HIIT keeps this hormone level raised, thus, slows down the aging process and keeps you feeling damn good!

- Preserves muscle mass. This is especially important if you're looking to tone and get rid of any excess flab. Hours of steady state cardio eats your muscle, so you end up burning any muscle you do build with weight training, thus, the flab doesn't tighten.

- Increased post-exercise oxygen consumption. You keep burning calories after the work out. Unlike steady state cardio, when you pretty much stop burning calories when you leave the gym or stop the work out, HIIT keeps you burning more calories 1-2 hours after you stop.

- Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous (around organs) fat. Steady state does not burn fat this way.

- Increases your metabolic rate. You'll burn calories and fat more efficiently.

- Saves time. Get the same results and more from 15-20 minutes of HIIT and you can throw in weight training or yoga and be out of the gym at the same time as you were after jogging or using the elliptical for an hour.

You can do HIIT with almost any exercise you want. You can do pushups for 50 secs/march in place for 10. You can do kettle bell swings for 50 secs/jump rope for 10 seconds. The variation and intensity can be developed based on your individual preference and fitness level.

The basic premise you should understand, is to go ALL OUT until you feel like you can't breathe/are going to pass out/might die (not really), and then take it down to low intensity and catch your breath for a bit. Then, go ALL OUT again!!! And repeat. You should only get to about 20 minutes max of HIIT, otherwise it becomes too exhausting for your body.

You will build up how many times you can repeat sets of high and low intensity. You may only be able to do two or three at first. But eventually, like with any exercise, you will build up the strength. Once you're comfortable, increase the reps, jog during low intensity instead of walk, etc.

There are tons and tons of HIIT work outs online. My personal favorite is Melissa Bender. She has 100s of work outs on her blog that are free.

I also use a HIIT timer free app on my phone called Seconds so I can time my intervals.

There is a lot of info out there on HIIT and all the benefits. I encourage you to check it out. Here's a good example of a HIIT work out:


Remember: If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. Is that 30 minute jog on the treadmill still challenging you or is it just part of your routine now? Might be time for a change...

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