For the most part, going to the gym or religiously attending fitness programs is all about body trimming or body sculpting. There are a lot of options to choose from, especially for those who badly need to trim down either for health reasons or some much awaited affair.
If you’re into cardiovascular exercises and are getting sick of doing the same things over and over again, then perhaps you should consider High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT.
Studies have shown that it is a better and more effective program for burning calories. First and foremost, you must realize that HIIT workouts are not really a new set of routine or exercise. In fact, it still makes use of the traditional cardio workouts. According to bodybuilding.com, the program is designed in such a way that it is a combination of longer moderate intensity training intervals followed by shorter high but maximum intensity training intervals.
At its very core, HIIT is targeted to athletes, for people who want to shed fat quickly, those who wants to bulk up, and those who are keen on just improving their energy systems. But what sets HIIT training workouts apart from other exercises? What makes HIIT training so attractive in the world of calorie burning?
Bodybuilding.com has an explanation for this. In a nutshell, higher intensity level interval training does away with the “steady state” of the body. This refers to that stage when the body of a person who usually engages in same intensity exercises acclimatizes itself and conserves energy in anticipation of the physical exertions. As a result, stored calories and fats are harder to burn.
Shape.com also outlines more benefits of HIIT. According to the site, the shock that the body gets from the heavy physical exertion and the relatively short recovery and rest time from HIIT keeps the body’s metabolism fast even one day after your workout. HIIT induces the body to produce more human growth hormone (HGH), which is responsible for higher calorie burning but is also a potent anti-aging agent.
The good thing about this workout is that it can be designed to serve two purposes. It can serve as weight control routine or it can be used to develop the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems of the body. Furthermore, weight loss may be accomplished without losing muscle mass.
And finally, it takes shorter time to accomplish body trimming or reduce weight. It may not be as easy compared to other exercises, but the trade-off between more workout time and manageable routine may just be worth it.
Here are some of the most used and widely considered as the best HIIT workouts you might want to try:
1. HIIT treadmill workouts (from Builtlean.com)
Treadmills are not only staple gym equipments. Treadmills are also popular choice got gym equipment in corporations with their very own fitness corners for their employees.
Instead of spending minutes and hours of jogging/ running or walking on this mean machine, why not try the following:
• 8 interval sprints: 8 repetitions of 30- second sprinting followed by 1:30 minutes resting.
• 30 second switches: 5 rounds of alternating 30- second sprinting and 30-second resting.
• Strength sprint combo: single-leg leg press for 16 reps on each leg and jump onto a treadmill at a 12% incline, bring the speed up to 9-10 mph and stay at that pace for as long as possible, jump off, take 30-60 seconds, get back on the leg press and repeat for a total of 4 rounds.
• Hill sprints: this is a combination of intense running and short resting.
• Compensated sprints: this is a combination of 20-30% lower than maximum speed for a prolonged period of time followed by shorter rests.
2. Combination of jogging and sprinting (from Bodybuilding.com)
Jogging and sprinting may be alternated repeatedly in short periods of time.
3. Stationary Cycling (from Acefitness.com)
Alternating speed and recovery intervals using the various cycling speeds.
4. Boxing (from Simplyshredded.com)
A combination of all out punching followed by jumping ropes to slow down.
5. Jumping Rope (from Ask.com)
As can be gathered from the top HIIT exercises above, it is mainly about the combination of varying speeds and rest times. For the gym frequenters, this can be easily introduced to your existing routines program and will even challenge you to spice up and step up your exercises.
But for those who are into Do-It-Yourself (DIY) exercises or those who simply want to stay at home and are more comfortable to exercise at home or those who only have relatively short free time to spare for these activities, HIIT can also be done in the comforts of our homes. Even without the aid of intimidating machines.
Fitnessblender.com and gearpatrol.com suggests some great HIIT workouts at home: : superman back extensions, supine hip extensions, squats, leg raises, jumping jacks, lateral jumps, jump oblique twists, burpees, pendulum swings and high knees.
But before saying “bring it on” to this challenge, a few things has to be remembered and observed in order to maximize the benefits that can be gained for HIIT:
1. Exercise for at least 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your estimated maximum heart rate, without exhausting yourself.
2. Three to four times a week of full blast HIIT workout should be enough for a person as putting too much strain on the body may lead to injuries.
3. Because of the high intensity activities that it entails, average HIIT workout session should last for about 15 – 30 minutes.
If you are all set on HIIT, workout will never be the same again. Less of the talk between friends while sweating out or less of the feel-good sweating after a pleasurable day in the gym. This is hard work at its finest.
But as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you want something you have to work hard for it. And again, as with all other things in life, it also comes with opportunity costs. You may opt for easier time with your workouts but you have to spend an awful lot of time to reach your goals. Or you can choose to sweat it out and push yourself to your limits and get immediate results! See for yourself and prove HIIT workouts’ claim to fame.