high intensity intervaal training for weight loss

If you are in search of a weight loss method that can help you reduce weight and get into your desired shape in the shortest possible time with lasting long-term results, then it will be in your best interest to have a go at high intensity interval training – HIIT for short.

HIIT is a proven, time-efficient and safe interval training technique that to a great extent out-performs your traditional low intensity aerobic exercise techniques. High intensity interval training is an exercise technique that comprises of alternating short high-intensity exercise intervals with long low-intensity recovery intervals during a workout session. Simply put, it’s the mixing of short burst of intense exercise with longer recovery breaks – going fast for a short burst, then going slowly again and repeating the cycle.

You can use interval training during your sprinting, cycling, skating, jump rope, treadmill or swimming workout sessions. For example, let’s assume you want to cover a certain distance in a particular time frame during your morning jogs.

First, you decide on how many energy burst (high intensity interval) you want to complete during this workout session. During the burst intervals, it is important that you push your heart rate above your normal training zone to about 80-90 per cent of your present capability while equally putting in your maximum effort.

You can start by warming up for at least 5 minutes, then suddenly do a sprint burst for about 1 minute and subsequently slow down to your normal pace to recover for about another 4 minutes. Repeating this twice and giving yourself about 5 minutes to cool down will add up to about 20 minutes of workout for a start. You can then progressively increase the high intensity burst intervals to increase the impact.

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High intensity interval training usually last for just about 20 minutes excluding the warm up and cool down times. The idea of using HIIT is to hold on to the anaerobic state – high intensity interval – for a longer cumulative time as possible. The resting or recovery interval of the cycle is usually longer than the burst interval with an average of about two to four times as long.

Basically there are four parameters which you can adjust when planning your high intensity interval training workouts taking into consideration your current overall fitness and goals. These include:

  • Intensity / Speed of High-Intensity Interval
  • Duration / Distance / Time of High-Intensity Interval
  • Recovery Interval / Duration of rest
  • Number of repetitions of each interval

Everyone from beginner exercisers to professional athletes can benefit from some sort of interval training according to the American Council on Exercise. Beginners can simply start using interval training to gradually increase their endurance to a point that they become able to coup with higher intensity exercises. Those in already good shape and elite exercisers can equally employ high intensity interval training to boost their speed, endurance and overall performance.

The following interval training tips and guidelines should help you reduce any risk of injury and maximize your high intensity interval training benefits.

Avoid doing workouts on an empty stomach. Eating at least thirty minutes before workout increases your body’s ability to exercise harder and longer, increasing your fat burning effectiveness. Also eating before training makes you to eat fewer calories in the course of the day compared to when you train on an empty stomach and have the tendency to overeat thereafter.

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Maintain a healthy eating habit. You need to develop a healthy dieting lifestyle to provide you all the energy you need to cope with high intensity interval training and to also support your general weight loss efforts. Incorporate low carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables into your diet to provide you with necessary minerals, vitamins, and energy. Also try to split your meals into about six meals instead of your regular three meals during the day.

Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after each workout session respectively. When you warm-up at a slow pace, you prepare your joints, muscles and heart for exercise. The cooling down allows you body to retun to its resting state, and also prevents injury and muscle soreness. This will allow your neuromuscular system to generally adjust properly to prevent any possible injury.

Gradually increase intensity. While the secret to HIIT is the intensity applied during your workout session, it is generally physically demanding therefore it’s always better to start according to your current fitness level and not to push yourself too hard when just starting HIIT.

Push yourself as hard as you can. As your endurance increases, try to sustain your high intensity intervals for about three to five minutes before slowing down to recover. The body generally adapts under intensity, thus with improved endurance you can push yourself harder and the body will continuously try to adapt to functioning at these higher intensities thus increasing your overall weight loss ability.