If you don’t already know what it is, HIIT training workouts are high intensity interval training that combines short periods of high intensity exercise with rest periods in between.
HIIT training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. “A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery,” says Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City. “This afterburn effect is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.”
Studies have found that typical exercise such as walking and jogging at a moderate pace do not really lead to weight loss (ha, surprise, surprise! I know this first hand!) However, and that’s a BIG HOWEVER, more and more research indicates that HIIT workout routines may be more effective at reducing belly fat than other types of exercise. That bears repeating:
HIIT may be more effective at reducing belly fat than any other type of exercise.
This is a joke right? Nope, HIIT training exercises work, but there is a catch. You knew it wasn’t going to be that easy right? If you are not already used to these exercises they could be too intense, frustrating and discouraging.
So what are we to do? Where do we start?
How Effective is HIIT?
HIIT is extremely effective at burning fat far faster. Studies show that 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than 1 hour jogging on a treadmill! One reason for this according to the American College of Sports Medicine states that the extra oxygen taken in during HIIT increases your metabolism (pst, that means burn more calories!).
HIIT exercise also trains your body to use energy more efficiently due to the rest periods in between exercises. Due to afterburn, you are burning calories up to 24 hours after you worked out. There’s no special equipment needed for HIIT, and you can basically perform these exercises anywhere easily!
Best HIIT Exercises
First let’s look at an example of a good HIIT workout routine: 3 Rounds, 45 second work and 15 second rest. Push Ups, Jump Squats, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Forearm planks. So the idea is to do each exercise as intensely as you can for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds after each one and go through the entire list of exercises 3 times.
Now, I jog and lift weights and to be honest with you, I don’t think I could sustain the above exercises very long so I would be either frustrated and stop, or I would do them incorrectly to fool myself into thinking I got through the HIIT. In either case, there would be no benefit, and I would think HIIT is bogus.
Set Yourself Up NOT to Fail
If you are just beginning to exercise, or you’re used to some moderate exercise but not high intensity, these suggestions should be followed so you don’t fail.
Quick warm up exercises. Do a few simple stretches and a brisk 3 minute walk. Get your body warm to help prevent injuries. You can also do front, back and side leg swings, and small and large arm circles to start.
The best pre workout food used to be considered a small carb such as a piece of fruit. Eating fruit is still good, but add a small amount of protein and a good fat and your body takes longer to burn the carb. Without the protein or good fat, the body will turn the carb to suger and after your workout you’ll have a sugar crash. Then you may think it was the workout, but when in reality it was the carb/sugar crash.
15 minute workouts. Limit your HIIT to 15 minutes to start and then work your way up incrementally. However, long it takes you to go beyond 15 minutes is the exact amount of time your body needs to accomplish it. Allow yourself to feel the success of completing 15 minutes!
Combine strength and cardio workouts. Strength exercises include squats and lunges. Cardio includes jumping jacks or jumping rope. Pick from each group, and use the ones you know you don’t mind doing so you can complete the workout.
Proper exercise techniques. Bad form can hurt your joints and not target muscle groups correctly. It is far better to do fewer reps then to do all the reps with incorrect form.
The intensity isn’t high enough. Make sure you give it your all during the exercise phase and only rest during the rest period. If you don’t push the intensity during the exercise you may not reap the benefits of HIIT. If you find beginner HIIT is too much for you do continue the intensity through all of the exercise, start with basic exercises until you work up to the intensity format.
Yes cool down is vital! When you exercise more blood is rushed out to the muscles from your increased heart rate and opening blood vessels. During exercise the muscles acutally help push that blood back to the heart. If you suddenly stop exercising with a lot of blood in the muscles, the exercise isn’t there to push that blood back to the heart. This may leave you feeling lightheaded or nauseaous. Do don’t skip that cool down. Let your muscles continue returning the excess blood back to the fast beating heart until the pulse naturally slows down with activity.
Yeah, it’s a pain to try and keep track of interval and rest periods without losing focus. Have no fear there are many Apps out there to help you. You can search for a free simple interval timer. They are ready and waiting for you!
High intensity interval training works especially for belly fat! In order to be successful you have to be ready for the intensity and the moves. If you’re not, build your way up to it using basic strength and cardio exercises until you’re ready.
Even when you are ready, don’t over do it. Start with the above suggestions.
I’ve included some suggested HIIT routines for beginners. Remember you don’t need any special equipment, just enough space to workout safely. And as always if you’re just starting to exercise make sure you check with your Doctor to get the go ahead. Good luck and leave me a comment about your experiences with HIIT.
Here are a few ideas of some basic HIIT routines:
Cardio HIIT – 10 minute HIIT on the treadmill. 20 seconds of intense work and 40 seconds of rest – walking is preferable. Repeat until you’ve gone on for 10 minutes. Don’t forget your warm up and cool down.
Whole Body HIIT – Jab cross left, jab cross right, jumping jacks, sumo squats. 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest for four rounds.
Good luck and leave me a comment about your experiences with HIIT!