If you join a gym looking to lose weight, then it is almost a certainty that the trainer will ask you to use the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. What he/she may not tell you is how high intensity interval training or HIIT can accelerate your journey towards losing weight. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise which alternates between periods of high intensity (like running at 10 km/h) and periods of low intensity (like running at 5 km/h).
It was developed in 1996, by a Japanese professor named Izumi Tabata who tried a study on Olympic speed-skaters where he introduced them to training in intervals 20 seconds of ultra intensive exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and HIIT or high intensity interval training was born! Some believe that HIIT can burn as much 50% more body fat than cardio.
The concept is simple periods of highly intense activity followed by periods of low activity or complete rest. For example, when you get on the treadmill run at 15 kmph for 2 minutes and then walk at 5 kmph for a minute. Continue this regime for fifteen minutes (or five sets) and you will have burnt more fat than 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio.
It is better for your heart health and even reduces the risk of diseases like diabetes. A study in Ontario, Canada found that two weeks of modified HIIT training prompted the creation of far more cellular proteins involved in energy production and oxygen. The training also improved the volunteers insulin sensitivity and improved blood sugar levels reducing people s susceptibility to diabetes.
You can incorporate HIIT in all your exercise regimes and most gym machines have the option to switch from high-intensity to low intensity. The first thing you should keep in mind is you should warm-up before you attempt it. Say you re using a treadmill and want to incorporate a HIIT regime. Here s what you do:
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First warm-up for a period of 3-5 minutes at normal pace
Pick the interval option on your treadmill to switch from jog to run (similar options are available on elliptical machines and stationery bikes as well)
Keep the low intensity speed around 6-8 kmph and high intensity one at 10-15 kmph depending on your level of fitness
You should begin with a high-low ratio of 1:2. If you run for 1 minute, walk for a period of 2 minutes.
Continue this for at least fifteen minutes or five rounds of high-low.
You can try similar exercises on the elliptical trainer, stationery cycle and rowing machine. The trick is that you should continue to push yourself. If you start to feel comfortable increase the speed/resistance, if you ve hit the maximum speed/resistance then try to increase your high to low ratio until you hit 2:1 ratio. Try this for a month and reap the benefits. Read about how you can supercharge your cardio workout!
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