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High Intensity Interval Training for Enhanced Fitness


There are many different types of fitness training, and someone embarking on the search for a new exercise regimen may find themselves facing an array of choices and some tough decisions.  If you’re looking for results, High Intensity Interval Training may be one style to consider.


High Intensity Interval Training (known as HIIT) is alternating short, vigorous bursts of exercise with short (or slightly longer) recovery intervals, which are less intense.  It’s great cardiovascular exercise, and a session can last from four minutes to thirty minutes.  Many athletes use this type of training, especially for running.  It can improve your glucose metabolism and maximize your fat burning.


A typical HIIT session might start with a warm up, then three to ten intervals of the high intensity exercise and recovery period of exercise, followed by a cool down.  The intervals should be tailored to the participant’s level of exercise, and it’s best to have a trainer guide you on this—at least for one session.   You should also get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise regimen, especially given the intensity of this workout style.


For example, after warming up, you might run very hard for thirty seconds, followed by thirty seconds of a light run, then thirty more seconds of hard running, then thirty seconds at a light run again, and so on.  The level of intensity and the length of each interval should be chosen with your fitness level in mind.


Traditionally, the sprints were done at a 2:1 ratio, such as thirty seconds of hard running followed by fifteen seconds of walking or jogging.  But it isn’t necessary to stick to that.  An out-of-shape or overweight person might only start with a light run for thirty seconds, followed by sixty to ninety seconds of at a walking pace to recover.


This strategy isn’t only good for running—you can use it on an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, a bike, and for other forms of exercise.  Just let your body—and your personal trainer, if you have one—be your guide.


Because a HIIT session often lasts approximately 30-40 minutes, it can be an excellent way to fit an effective workout into a busy schedule.  It also can be more fun for people who tend to get bored with gym routines—it mixes things up a bit, and allows the person to get out of the gym faster, instead of seemingly endless, monotonous runs on the treadmill.


HIIT training has been shown to burn fat more effectively, in spite of the shorter workout time.  HIIT can increase your resting metabolic rate, lower your insulin resistance significantly, improve your glucose tolerance, and enhance your skeletal muscle fat oxidation.


The HIIT method of training is great on its own, but if you add in High Intensity Strength Training—guided by a properly-trained personal trainer—you can boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities and maximize the health benefits of your training routine.  If you choose to use both methods, you can do the strength training two to three times a week, and do your HIIT routines on any or all of the other days.


If you’re looking for a way to kick your fitness routine into high gear, or maximize your weight loss, High Intensity Interval training just might be the method for you.

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