Can you believe it’s already 2014? It seems like we rang in 2013 only yesterday… Alas, time sure flies. If you’re like me and many others, you may have gained a few pounds over the holidays. The absolute best and quickest way to get them off is to do HIIT. According to ACE Fit Facts, “HIIT—High-intensity interval training—is a cardiorespiratory training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout. HIIT is used by athletes and everyday exercise enthusiasts to reach performance goals and enhance fitness and well-being.” I predict HIIT will be the new fitness craze for 2014. We’ve had CrossFit for a few years now, and it hit its peak in the beginning of 2013. It’s only natural HIIT will follow as CrossFit is, after all, a form of HIIT—very high intensity training.
The best thing about HIIT is that it’s very time-efficient and gives you quick results. Your HIIT workouts shouldn’t last more than about 50 minutes. (Really, 25-30 minutes is enough.) And if you do the workout right, you won’t have the energy to go on any longer. The worst thing about HIIT is that it’s very hard to do, meaning it’s extremely tiring and requires lots of discipline to push yourself to the max, which is what you’re supposed to do when doing HIIT. Few people are able to push themselves to this degree. Your truly, being a trainer and all, must feel VERY motivated as well wear my Ipod shuffle containing great, uplifting music to make myself do it. Maybe… But each time I do, I feel great afterward, and I find I don’t need to watch my calorie intake as religiously yet still lose weight because HIIT has a great afterburn. American College of Sports Medicine states that, “Research has shown one session of HIIT can burn calories for 1.5 – 24 hours after exercise.”
Because HIIT is quite taxing on the heart, you don’t want to do this type of workout every day. Two to three times a week is enough to get you results. Focus on resistance training FOR THE WHOLE BODY—not just the arms, girls, and not just the pecs and biceps, guys;)—the other days. Remember to take one rest day per week during which you allow your body to recover. If you have never before worked out, you can still do HIIT. However, have your doctor clear you first and consider hiring a trainer to help you get through the first couple of sessions safely. Not only does HIIT stress your heart, but because you move so fast, your chances of injury increase.
The great thing about HIIT is that there is not one specific way you have to do it. As long as you include intervals during which you push yourself to your personal max followed by recovery periods, you’re doing HIIT. The intervals can be as short as ten seconds or as long as five minutes. It all depends on your fitness levels. If you’re just starting out, keep the intervals short and the recovery long. At first, make the recovery periods twice as long as the actual intervals. So, if you run—or jog—for one minute, make sure you walk for two minutes to recover. Then run or jog for another minute, and rest two. Include however many intervals you can get into a twenty-minute period when you’re new to HIIT. As you get fitter, you can increase the number of intervals you’re doing to last for thirty minutes. After you reach this point, start decreasing your recovery periods to a minute and a half. If you decrease your recovery, you will automatically be forced to do more intervals in order to reach the thirty-minute mark. When one and a half minute feels like too much of a recovery, decrease it to one minute and fifteen seconds or even one minute. I hope this explains how you progress HIIT. You can apply the HIIT method to almost any activity—swimming, biking, elliptical, jump rope, jogging, stair climbing. Your imagination is the limit! Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me.