After resistance training, my favorite exercise method for losing bodyfat and getting in great shape is High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT Training. This HIIT training is great because it does not take a lot of time and it produces superb results. It is also beneficial because it does not waste hard-earned muscle tissue like traditional aerobic cardo. In addition, it provides a nice bonus boost to metabolism that lasts for hours after exercise is completed, similar to the way resistance training does this.
The basic idea of HIIT training is that you will be alternating periods of high intensity and low intensity exercise. You will keep moving throughout the entire workout, using the periods of low intensity exercise as “active rest”.
HIIT training works well because you are able to spend a good amount of time exercising at a high intensity, which provides the aforementioned metabolic boost. Once you have spent some time working at a high intensity, you enter an active rest period of low intensity. This allows the heart rate to lower and the muscles to recover so that you will be ready for another burst at a high intensity.
Here is a simple example of an HIIT workout done on a stationary bike:
1) Warm up for five minutes at levels one through five, progressing every minute.
2) Do a 30 second work interval at level 12, or whatever is the highest level you can maintain a near all-out effort for the full 30 seconds. You should not be able to maintain this effort for much more than 30 seconds.
3) Perform one minute of active rest at level three to allow yourself to recover.
4) Repeat the work and rest intervals five times.
5) Cool down for 10 minutes at levels five through one, going down every two minutes.
And that’s it! 25 minutes and you have a great, intense workout. At the end, you will feel like you worked out for hours, but you will feel awake and full of energy. It is a great workout, especially if you have never done anything like it before.
There are many ways to do HIIT training. This is simply the easiest method to teach. You can use this concept and get creative with it. Use the treadmill or the row machine, sprint and jog, run/walk up stairs, use bodyweight exercises in a circuit, do burpees then jumping jacks, use kettlebells, etc. The possibilities really are endless.
You can also play around with the intervals themselves. I recommend that you begin with a work:rest ratio of 1:2. The work period should be 30-60 seconds and then you figure out the rest period from there. As you get more conditioned to interval training, try to change the ratio. Move to 1:1.5 or 1:1. Eventually you may be able to do a 2:1 ratio with one minute of work for every 30 seconds of active rest. But that is for people with advanced fitness levels, and it will take some time to progress to that level.
Now you have the knowledge to explore the exciting world of HIIT Training. Give it a try and see how quickly your level of fitness improves!