Interval training, AKA: HIIT, AKA: the most efficient way to use your 20 minutes of exercise.
Seriously though. Interval training is one of many great ways to help you burn extra calories on with your limited time.
Well, now there’s yet another reason to consider it: Interval training also boosts your endurance, makes you stronger and can prevent heart disease.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio talk show host, breaks down how interval training can do those things in a recent blog post.
We’ll leave the in-depth science talk to his expertise, but here’s a quick snapshot of exactly why interval training can help you with those things:
Interval training for endurance.
In a day and age when life feels like one big rush-around-sandwich, anything involving efficiency is a good — actually great — thing. Slowing down and then rapidly increasing your activity between each interval helps your body use lactic acid more efficiently.
Interval training for strength.
You know how your muscles feel all sore the day after a workout? Embrace the soreness. Since interval training involves repeating short bursts of energy followed by quick rest periods, it allows you to go longer. That, in turn, causes slight damage to the muscles. When they heal, they get stronger. That’s the soreness. So worth it.
Interval training for preventing heart disease.
How does lowering high blood sugar sound? Good? Interval training makes cells more sensitive to insulin, which lowers blood sugar and makes exercise more effective. And here’s a few more bonuses: It also boosts the number, size and efficiency of mitochondria in your muscle cells. That, in turn, means a lower weight, plus less risk for diabetes and a heart attack.
Ok great, but how do I DO this whole interval training thing?
It’s actually pretty fun. And definitely doable. (Really. It is.)
Here are 8 things to keep in mind for HIIT beginners.
1) You’re not a rocket. Start slow.
There’s no need to burst off into outer space right from the get-go. Building up endurance in interval training takes time and consistency.
2) Get the blood flowing.
Warm up. Seriously. All the joints. Don’t skimp out. You have to prepare them for what’s to come.
3) It’s a roller coaster.
Go all out for 20 seconds. Then recover for 40. Or 60. Do what feels right for you.
4) Count and count and count some more.
Reps are your friend. Keep track of them and aim to beat them every time.
5) Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Use an interval timer. Don’t try looking at your clock every few seconds. You’re busy. Luckily, there’s an app for that.
6) 10-20-50?!?! (Maybe, we’ll get there.)
Add weights slowly over time. Doing this makes the workout more difficult.
7) Talk to a friend (or yourself — we won’t judge.)
Can you speak a full sentence during intervals? Cool. You’re not working too hard. If you can’t and are gasping for breath, slow your roll.
Ok, great. But what about an actual routine?
Don’t worry. We got you. Here are a few good ones to get you started:
Fitness Magazine has a list of some pretty awesome-possum HIIT workouts as well.
Do you know of some more great HIIT workouts? Share a link in the comments below!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.