HIIT, How to Lose Weight, Get Fit and Save Time

Commonly known as HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training is characterised by short bursts of intense work periods followed by short periods of rest.

HIIT has been well proven to show improvements in a persons

  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Blood pressure
  • Overall Cardiovascular Health
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Cholesterol profiles
  • Abdominal fat and muscles mass

HIIT can be incorporated into almost any chosen activity from swimming through to group exercises, boosting the rate of calorie burn significantly, particularly in the period after you have exercised. According to the American College of Sports Medicine you can burn between 6%– 15% more calories when compared to a normal exercise session.

When we talk about high intensity it really is that. You need to feel like you are exercising hard to very hard or a rate of perceived exertion of 7-8/10.

If you are wearing a heart rate monitor, you should be exercising at 80% of your maximum heart rate. 

Recovery, which is the best bit, should be at 40% - 50% or around 4-5/10.

Traditionally a rough guide to deciding what your heart rate should be is 220 minus your age and multiplied by 80 then divide by 100. E.g. a 52-Year-Old women would have a maximum heart rate of    220 –52= 168 x 80 / 100= 134

There are more finessed ways of assessing this. If you have an opportunity, then it is worth getting it done if you want to be even more scientific. An Exercise Physiologist could help you with this

The relationship between the bouts of intensity and recovery can be important and also depend on your fitness level. Some HIIT use minutes for both exercise and recovery, whilst others use seconds.

So you might have 3 minutes of exercise and then 3-4 minutes or rest or even shorter amounts. You might also do 50 seconds of something with 10 – 20 seconds of rest.

This type of training has been used for a long time when training athletes who have traditionally used a 30 second all out effort with 3 – 4-minute recovery.

If you want to try this kind of exercise, and you should be adding it to your weekly workout plan, then I would suggest the following:

  1. If you don’t have a base level of fitness i.e. you haven’t already established a pattern of exercise 20 – 60 minutes 3 – 5 times a week, then that is where you need to start. If you don’t have a base level what usually happens is you feel so uncomfortable that you never want to do it again but more importantly you put yourself at risk of injury as you don’t have a stable platform from which to work.
  2. If you do have a base level of moderate fitness, then if you have access to a gym try a class that incorporates it. The instructor can help you make sure your form is correct and you can also get to try out a few different combinations.
  3. Have a session one on one with a good personal trainer who can take you through some routines and again make sure your form is good. Being one on one they can also assess your fitness level and guide you as to how to start and how to increase.
  4. If you don’t have access to either of these things then go online You Tube has thousands of clips
  5. You could also  check out the hundreds of apps, many of which are free, for your phone.
  6. Alternatively work with whatever your chosen activity is then a couple of times a week do some short fast bursts followed by recovery. The other thing you will probably notice is that your overall everyday speed will improve as well. Always good to get an added bonus.

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