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Think Spurts not Stretches – How HIIT Works

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you’re fit and up for a challenge, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) could be the perfect exercise regimen for you. Designed to burn calories faster than endurance exercises, the intense spurts of exercise mean that the body continues to burn calories long after you leave the gym.

Interval training is the most effective way to burn more calories

Studies show that interval training increases cardiovascular fitness, promotes healthy glucose levels in the body, increases endurance and burns calories fast. It also offers a fast workout for those who have a limited amount of time to spend in the gym. HIIT has been scientifically shown to significantly lower insulin resistance leading to decreased resting blood glucose levels and weight loss.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training is a series of intense anaerobic exercises interspersed with less intense recovery periods. Sessions can last from 4-30 minutes. After a warm-up period, high intensity exercise, from three repetitions to 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, is followed by the same repetitions at 50% intensity.

HIIT can embrace a range of different sports activities. For example, a 2:1 formula could be 30-40 seconds of hard sprinting followed by 15-20 seconds of jogging or walking, both repeated for the length of the interval training session. The exercises could be switched to exercise bikes or other gym cardio equipment, depending on your particular preference.

Why Internal Training Burns More Calories

Interval training intersperses intense periods of activity with short recovery sections. It allows you to work the body to maximum intensity in short spurts, rather than enduring a long period of steady exercise.

For those wanting to lose weight and burn more calories, HIIT is particularly effective. During a period of high intensity training the body cannot feed the muscles with oxygen fast enough, so muscles accumulate a debt of oxygen and energy that needs to be replenished after the workout is over. As a result, your body is still working hard long after the workout is over, simply to restore the normal status. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). It’s the hidden weapon of any intense interval training program.

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What is CrossFit?

One particular brand of interval training is CrossFit. Devised by Greg Glassman in 2000, CrossFit workouts are offered as classes in many gyms. The program includes aspects of high intensity interval training along with weightlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises. Many participants sign up for the workout of the day (WOD) which offers a variety of different exercises on the same principle in group classes led by a certified trainer.

Interval training can be adapted to suit men and women of all ages and fitness levels. If you are looking to get fitter, build and maintain stamina, lose weight, and maintain strength and conditioning through an exercise program, interval training or CrossFit could be worth trying. Best of all, you can dedicate as much or as little time to interval training as you wish on a regular basis to achieve and maintain your fitness goal.

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