Now That’s A HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

If you are looking to shed some Thanksgiving Turkey weight…then this blog is for you!

The common theme among many professionals today is that they tell you to do long, boring cardio workouts to lose fat. "Get into your target rate and stay there for at least 30 minutes”. Let’s dispel one common fitness myth right now. Low-to-moderate cardio and staying in the “fat burning zone” is NOT the best way to lose fat.  Ok good…now we can move on.

Ask yourself this question…why do marathon runners look emaciated and worn down while sprinters are physical specimens?  What if I told you that you could adjust your cardio routine so it will take LESS TIME and you’ll BURN MORE FAT…would you do it???? 

The fastest man in the world.

The research is now starting to catch up with what the body builders and fitness professionals have known for a long time - high-intensity training burns fat more effectively than low-to-moderate exercise. This means no more cycling through the settings on the elliptical machine at the gym looking for the “Fat Burn” program. Let’s start sweating!

What is Interval Training?
Interval training is simply alternating short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower, recovery phases throughout a single workout. The interval workouts can utilize a variety of training equipment (outdoor activities, treadmill, elliptical, skipping rope etc…) so it’s simple to implement. It can be causal or structured, which makes it very “user” friendly. 
From a clinical standpoint however, it is obvious that high-intensity exercise cannot be prescribed for beginners, or individuals at risk for health problems. In these cases, the most cautious course remains to follow a moderate intensity exercise program with a progressive increase in duration and frequency of sessions.

Benefits of interval training compared to long cardio workouts
1) It Takes Less Time - Since you'll put putting out more effort in each exercise period, you won't need (or be able to) sustain a very long workout. Usually 5-15 minutes is plenty for beginner or intermediate fitness levels.

2) You Dramatically Improve Your VO2 max and Anaerobic Capacity – Basically, you will be improving your cardiovascular health in 2 ways – one of which low-intensity cardio cannot (This means you’ll be able to go that much harder during that final floor hockey shift this winter!)

3) You Lose More Fat – Intervals are performed at a level that your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy to recover from the butt-kicking you gave it. This means that you consume more oxygen recovering from the exercise bout. Therefore, you will be burning up substantially more fat while sitting on the couch later that night than you would have if you'd spent an hour on the treadmill at a moderate pace.

4) You Don't Lose Muscle – With interval training you release HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which signals your body to grow more muscle and lose the fat. Remember that sprinter’s physique!

5) You Can Combine Programs - Chances are that you're currently on a weightlifting/cardio program right now (…and if you are not you should be!) Well what if I told you that this cardio routine combined with a properly designed strength routine would result in a synergistic effect (aka…. RESULTS!)

Now, most of my training clients used to cringe when they heard me say these words but those same individuals now actually prefer cardio intervals than the traditional.  It’s a little outside the comfort zone…but we’ve already learned that that’s a good thing (see previous blog).

Let me be clear, I am not saying to completely do away with the traditional long, low-intensity cardio routine. Especially if you are training for that 10km or ENJOY RUNNING. There a countless benefits for this type of training including stress reduction, cardiovascular health etc...  However, an interval running program should be used in any training program even as part of your weekly routine. 

Just be creative and have some fun!

**Please consult your health care provider before following any advice on this blog.


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