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I have always been a keen advocate of high intensity interval training (HIIT). Indeed, I think it’s one of the simplest and effective exercise regimes to shred fat and get lean at the same time, not to mention the ease and the variety of HIIT regimes that you can do as part of your training regime. It’s also a training regime that has almost every sports and fitness coach nodding in agreement-it works!
So what exactly is HIIT? Put simply, HIIT is a training technique in which you give all out 100% effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by a short recovery period. This type of exercise increases the heart rate and the body’s need for oxygen during the recovery period, otherwise known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). In essence, you’ll be out of breath, your lungs will be crying out for oxygen and your muscles will be burning, and this is the main reason why HIIT will help scorch more fat and calories than traditional slow and steady aerobic workouts.
Besides being more efficient than slow and steady cardio for burning fat, HIIT is also surprisingly simple and convenient. There are a variety of ways to implement HIIT and a lot of the workouts can be done with little or no equipment. Also, depending on the exercise, HIIT would also give you the opportunity to build slabs of muscle in the quickest way possible. Moreover, because of the high level of intensity involved, this requires immense focus and discipline. If done properly, you’ll experience the most pain you’ve ever received and not only that, if you are pressed for time, HIIT would certainly be beneficial because most workouts can be done in 30 minutes or less.
Examples of HIIT
One of my favorite ways to implement HIIT is to do sprints. You can do them on the sports track or the treadmill if you prefer. I personally like to do hill sprints on the treadmill. Start off with a 3 minute warm up, then 20 seconds of sprinting followed by a 1 minute recovery. Repeat 10 times followed by a 3 minute cool down. In total, this workout should last about 25 minutes. You can also implement this workout on a bike or a weighted sled for example if your gym has one, the choice is yours.
Another one of my personal favorites is to implement what are known as ‘finishers’ after my weights workout. Put simply, this is a quick 5 minute burst of exercise-I often implement the Tabata training philosophy: in this case 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 repetitions. Again, you can use either the treadmill, bike, kettlebell or just a combination of bodyweight exercises, for example:
- 20 seconds bodyweight squats, rest 10 seconds
- 20 seconds push ups, rest 10 seconds
- 20 seconds squat thrusts, rest 10 seconds
- 20 seconds plank, rest 10 seconds
Have you tried high intensity training before and what methods have you used?
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