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Allow us to introduce you to one of the most important fat loss tools available. No, it is NOT long slow cardio workouts. This works way better when it comes to fat loss. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. Here is how it works. You pick an exercise; go as hard as possible for a certain period of time (usually between 30 – 60 seconds). Then actively rest for a certain period of time (between 30 – 120 seconds), and repeat anywhere from 4 to 8 times. By ‘actively rest’ I mean continue to do the exercise, but significantly reduce your speed to a recovery pace. If you were sprinting for 30 seconds, then you would walk during the active rest period.
It sounds pretty simple, but when done properly it will drive you to utter exhaustion and your body will turn on its fat burners. It is also a great way to squeeze in a short yet highly effective workout on a busy day. And one of the greatest things about HIIT is that you can apply it to so many different types of workouts that you never get bored with the same routine. You can HIIT on a treadmill. You can HIIT on a stationary bike. You can HIIT with a jump rope. You can HIIT at the gym. You can HIIT on the beach. You can HIIT at home. You can HIIT anywhere you can do an exercise all out for 30-60 second intervals at a time.
[We posted this video because the Beastie Boys rock and this is a great song to listen to while you HIIT it! Just pretend the first two words are ‘HIIT it!’ instead of ‘kick it.’]
How often should I do HIIT training in one week?
Most experts recommend doing HIIT 2-3 times per week. Of course, it depends on what other exercise you incorporate into your weekly workouts. If you are lifting free weights three times per week then you probably do not want to do HIIT more than twice in one week, preferably right after your workout. If HIIT takes a more prominent role in you exercise routine then maybe you can push it to 4 times per week. You should not be doing HIIT 5 or 6 times in one week. First off, HIIT is intense and when done properly should exhaust you so you shouldn’t have the energy to do it more than 4 times per week. Second, your body will need time to recover and rebuild after your workouts. If you don’t allow for sufficient recovery time then you significantly increase your chances for injury and you will do more harm to your body than good.
Quality over quantity
If you’ve never used HIIT before then it may take some time to get used to it. The first time you try it I would recommend gradually increasing the intensity of your 30 second effort each interval. For example, if you are running on a track for your interval training, start by running at about 60% of your all out effort for the first interval. Then actively rest for 60 seconds. Next, run at about 65% effort, actively rest for 60 seconds, and so on. Try to do this for eight intervals never going harder than 85-90%. This will be a 12 minute workout that will wear you out. As you get used to the interval method and your body gradually gets into better shape, try to increase your intensity to 85-90% for each interval. Don’t worry that the workout is only 12 minutes. Scientific research shows that shorter HIIT workouts are far better at burning fat while keeping muscle than long cardio workouts. The key to HIIT is that you go all out during the workout. It is quality over quantity.
If you are ready to make the workout more challenging then try to decrease the active rest periods. You could do 30 intense exercise followed by 45 seconds of active rest. Or you can try 30 seconds intense exercise with 30 seconds active rest. The flexibility of HIIT is one of its greatest advantages.
Here are some of our favorite HIIT workout routines:
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