High Intensity Interval Training – a Quick Way to Get Fit

by Emily Dickerson, ND

Ready to get in shape but not sure where to start? Don’t be discouraged. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can help. Despite what was preached in the 80’s and 90’s, fat loss does not require endless hours of cardio exercise. High Intensity Interval Training can help you to gain muscle mass and lose body fat much more effectively than slower cardio conditioning. HIIT training has been thoroughly studied since the mid 1990s and has been shown to improve the following: aerobic and anaerobic fitness, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity (how efficiently our muscles are able to use glucose for energy), cholesterol ratios, decreased fat, and increased muscle mass.

HIIT can include any cardiovascular activity that can be performed at a high intensity for short periods of time. This can be done outside, at home, or in your local gym. Cardio equipment often has optional settings for interval training. The intense exercise periods of HIIT may range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are performed at 85%-90% of a person’s estimated maximum heart rate. The recovery periods usually last just as long and are performed at 40%-50% of the maximum heart rate. An effective HIIT workout need not last longer than 20 minutes, though it may be performed for up to 60 minutes.

To gain the most benefit from HIIT, it is important to include rest days into your routine, as this is needed to help your muscles recover. Also, it is important that your routine include some weight lifting.

A great place to start is 20 minutes of HIIT cardio with eight 30-second intervals where you go all-out. This can be walking/jogging, an elliptical machine, a bike or even swimming. Finish your session with 10 minutes of resistance training/weight lifting.  Do this 3 – 5 times a week.  Combine this with a lower carbohydrate, healthful diet to achieve a better you this upcoming year. To learn more about how to achieve your health, fitness, weight loss goals through individualized diet, exercise, and treatment plans, call to schedule an appointment today.

Here’s an article to read more on HIIT from Dr. Mercola.