Filled Under:

How To Understand High Intensity Interval Training

By Howe Russ

If you ask any fitness instructor for tips on how to lose weight you will likely find HIIT among the suggestions. But what is high intensity interval training and who should be performing it?

Just like resistance training, there are various ways to perform this style of workout and your overall fitness goal will determine which method is best suited for you. Most people don't learn these different methods and therefore don't see any results. Today we will teach them to you.

If you visit any gym around the world you will find two distinctly different types of people working out. Firstly, you will meet those who are happy to spend up to an hour working out at a steady pace on an exercise bike. Secondly, you'll meet those who deem cardiovascular exercise to be too boring and therefore they ignore it and train with weights instead.

The high intensity interval training formula is a middle ground between both ends of the scale which tends to appeal to members of either group.

What type of person should be using this training method? It may surprise you to hear that both sets of people would get results. While your body is able to increase it's ability to shed unwanted fat at a quicker rate than regular cardiovascular activity, studies also show an increase in our ability to build lean muscle.

The main reason this type of training is so popular with those looking for the fat loss benefits it offers comes down to something called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or E.P.O.C. for short. When you perform steady state cardiovascular activity you generally stop burning off calories at an increased rate the moment you finish your activity. With high intensity interval training, however, your body actually continues burning those calories at an increased rate for hours after you leave the gym, therefore increasing fat loss results.

Like any other type of training, however, there are numerous ways to perform it. Knowing which one best fits your overall goal will allow you to get superior results.

* Tabata Interval Training.

* Performing intervals specifically to improve your performance in a sporting event.

* Weight loss workouts.

The first method, known as Tabata Interval Training, was designed by Professor Tabata during the 1990's. This theory was put forward to increase the fitness level of elite athletes so most people who perform this particular style are already very experienced in the gym and consider themselves to be at an advanced level of overall fitness.

Originating from Japan, this style of workout has been proven to increase the VO2 Max in a group of highly trained athletes by a whopping 28%.

Minus the necessary warm-up and cool-down periods, Tabata's involve working out for just four minutes in total. However, don't let the short time fool you into thinking that this is going to be easy. These four minutes will push you harder than any other form of interval training in existence today. The four minutes are split up into sections of 20 seconds at maximal intensity and 10 seconds of recovery, repeated eight times over.

If your goal is to improve performance for a sport then there is a slight variation on the Tabata method which will work well for you. This involves performing a longer workout, between 20 and 30 minutes in total, which combines a cardiovascular activity as your high intensity work and a resistance exercise as your recovery. One good example of this would be to combine a 400 meter sprint on a rowing machine with 30 seconds of push-ups. That particular session is used by many professional rowing clubs.

If you are looking to use high intensity interval training to improve your general fitness and get the fat loss benefits on offer then you should pay close attention to a recent study performed in Canada. Researchers found that the optimal interval workout for fat loss is a thirty minute session split up into sections of 4 minutes at a moderate intensity and 30 second bursts of maximum effort.

The physical benefits of performing high intensity interval training are clear to see. Thanks to the several variations available you can make the most of this training style whether you are trying to build lean muscle or trying to shed unwanted body fat.

Learning how to lose weight can be a tricky affair, with so much contradicting information in circulation. The three styles of HIIT given in today's post have the most scientific evidence to support their benefits and, depending upon which category you fit into, you will be able to fit one of these into your existing weights routine.

About the Author: