High intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT, is a great form of cardio for those of us who already have some kind of fitness. Recent studies have shown that HIIT will burn away the fat much faster than a normal cardio workout, and better still, the fat will keep on burning off for a longer period of time.
Sound too good to be true? Perhaps, but let’s not forget that we are talking high intensity here, which means exercising at a level that is at 90% of your heart range. Your workout will be shorter, harder in parts, and you will drop the fat faster.
What is HIIT?
As we said HIIT is all about high intensity workouts. People who already have some fitness should only attempt these sorts of sessions. The principle behind HIIT is that when you push your body into these maximum performance levels your body will start to release catecholamine which is a chemical that triggers your body to start to burning fat. The harder you workout, the more catecholamine is released, and the longer you will burn fat.
HIIT works extremely well for running, exercise bikes, and the jump rope. Treadmills can be a little tricky, as they cannot slow down and speed up as fast as they need to for HIIT, and secondly, it can be quite dangerous to run on a treadmill at the sort of sprint that you need for HIIT. Lastly, the maximum speed on a treadmill is not going to be fast enough for the high intensity component.
You need to do HIIT at least three times per week. After every four weeks, you will need to change the timing of your intervals. Your cardiac fitness will dictate initially how long your high intensity intervals can be. Basically, at the end of each high intensity session, your heart rate should be in the maximal range.
There are varying reports on the length of time you should be in the high intensity range. The most basic formula is 60/60, which means 60 seconds of maximum performance followed by 60 seconds of active rest. Active rest is defined as biking more slowly, jogging more slowly, or skipping at a lower rate. Some experts define active rest as a 3/10 on exertion. HIIT should never, ever be contemplated without a 5 minute warm up first. 5 minutes of cool down exercise should be done at the end. Follow this with a stretch of any tight muscles.
As your endurance improves, the shorter and more intense the intervals can become. One recent study had participants on maximum intensity for 6 seconds and then active rest for 9 seconds. The principle behind these short times was that you can’t go all out for more than 6 seconds at a time.
HIIT and Exercise Bikes
HIIT and exercise bikes are an excellent combination. Exercise bikes allow you to exercise in your maximum heart range without placing any impact on your knees or ankles as you would if you were running or jumping rope. Exercise bike reviews can be a great way to ensure that you get the perfect exercise bike for your needs.
On an exercise bike you need to have a 5-minute warm up before starting on your intense intervals. If you are just starting out you can begin with a 60/60, 30/30, or even 30/60 (which is 30 seconds maximum intensity and 60 seconds recovery) ratio. As your endurance improves you will be able to increase the intensity, and have shorter recovery periods.
HIIT and the Jump Rope.
The great thing about a jump rope is that it is very cost effective and can accompany you when traveling. Jump rope HIIT still follows the same ratios, when in recovery you can either jump at a lower rate or walk on the spot briskly.
Heart Monitors and Interval Timers
Heart monitors can make HIIT workouts a lot easier for you to track. You should be in the 90% range for the high intensity, and around 50% for the recovery. There are plenty of relatively inexpensive interval timers you can get to take the guess work out of when your intervals are up. You can pre-program in your whole routine and then just listen for the beep when it is time to change. These sorts of timers mean that you can just concentrate on your heart rate and working out, without having to keep one eye on the clock.
Document your progress
A HIIT journal is a great idea. You will be able to document your weight and fat loss. You will be able to keep track of your routines and can have fun playing around with the time intervals. Don’t forget that you need a new routine every four weeks. You will quickly be able to determine how your endurance is improving with the increase in length of your routines. Your journal will help keep you motivated and allow you to keep your goals in mind.
High intensity interval training is an excellent way to burn fat faster with a shorter workout that is more intense. Recommended only for those people who are already fit.