Falling In Love With HIIT

Over the past week I’ve been trying to find a way to work on improving my cardio sessions to start seeing fat burning results. I’m usually pretty boring and lazy with cardio. I’m good at doing two cardio sessions a day, but I always did 20-30 minute speed walks on the treadmill, with a speed of 4 MPH and an incline of 4. Sure, this is still activity, but I never really got my heart rate above 130 and as such I’m not seeing the kind of results I need. The reason I started doing my cardio this way in the first place was that I was following the Body By Design book by Kris Gethin, and he suggested doing low-intensity cardio for fat burning while building muscle. This program did work for me, but the cardio is extremely boring.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about HIIT training, and I thought I would give it a shot. A few months ago I tried the Ashley Conrad Clutch Cut program (which I despised with all of my being), and it included HIIT training. Her program suggested doing a 1 min walk, 30 second jog, and 1 minute sprint, for 10 sets. I ABSOLUTELY DIED. I think I made it through 7 times once, and died at 5 the other two times, before I gave up (on the entire awful program!) and started back to my walking.

Long story short, I’ve decided to give HIIT another try with MY rules. On Friday I had a mini cheat day, and felt super guilty. My friend suggested doing sprints, so I went along with the idea and I actually succeeded. It’s all mental, you have to want it. Since then, I did a HIIT run on Saturday, two on Sunday, and one this morning. I start every day off with a 20-30 minute cardio session, so I wanted to design one that I could do in the morning that would still give me time to get ready for work. I’ll make it harder over time once I get used to it, but right now it’s looking like this:

HIIT

20 Minute HIIT Fun Run:

TIME

SPEED

INCLINE

2.5 Minutes

4.3

4

2.5  Minutes

5.3

1

1 Minute

8

1

2 Minutes

4.3

4

1 Minute

8

1

2 Minutes

4.3

4

1 Minute

8

1

2 Minutes

4.3

4

1 Minute

8

1

2 Minutes

4.3

4

1 Minute

8

1

2 Minutes

4.3

4

I ran  just shy of 3K in those 20 minutes, and burned 207 calories. Not bad! So this is my new plan, and I’m going to keep it up and see what kinds of results I get. Stay posted!

WHY DO HIIT TRAINING???

Let’s ask the wonderful people at bodybuilding.com!

WHAT IS HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.” It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

ANAEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Anaerobic literally means “Without oxygen.” The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete’s muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

AEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

WHO WOULD BENEFIT THE MOST FROM AN HIIT REGIMEN?

Someone looking to burn as much fat as possible during a cutting phase, someone looking to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase, or someone looking to increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance significantly would all benefit greatly from a HIIT regimen.

Athletes who participate in a sport where the intensity varies constantly will benefit greatly as well. HIIT simulates a sport like basketball or soccer very well in that low to moderate intensity is constantly alternated with high intensity.

WHAT KIND OF RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT FROM HIIT?

HIIT will accomplish two goals: it will help accelerate fat loss and improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance. HIIT will most likely produce very fast results in a short period of time which is why it has been gaining popularity ever since it was introduced to the bodybuilding community.

Nobody can promise any specific results but it is feasible that after an 8-week cycle of HIIT combined with weight training, you and those around you will be able to notice a significant change to your body. Athletes will be able to perform better in their given sport and will outperform others toward the end of games when everyone else is getting tired.

HOW DOES HIIT COMPARE TO OTHER TRAINING METHODS?

Scientific literature suggests that HIIT is much more effective than regular cardio for accomplishing both of the goals stated earlier. “The reason that High Intensity Interval Training works better [than normal cardio] for fat loss is this:

When you do a cardio session at the same pace the whole time, your body goes into what is called steady state. This means that your body has adjusted itself to the speed you are going and tries hard to conserve energy (calories). You will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and FAT by doing the interval training.” (Source: http://davedraper.com/hiit-cardio-training.html)

Also, “A study at Laval University in Quebec, Canada found that HIIT cardio helped trainees lose nine times more fat than those who trained the traditional way (moderate speed for 20-60 minutes).”

HIIT stimulates the body in a way that cannot be paralleled by other methods of cardio. Constant change which allows for higher intensity is the key to HIIT.

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