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Stay in Shape with High Intensity Interval Training

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HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a growing trend in fitness. HIIT is a circuit of short bursts of, as the name suggests, high-intensity workouts. Each exercise is followed by a short recovery period. If you are pressed for time, HIIT allows you to get in a good, hard workout in a short amount of time.

HIIT exercise is a quick and convenient way to get in a good workout when you may be limited by time, or lack of access to fitness equipment. A HIIT workout can be done anywhere, whether you’re at home, traveling, at the park, or at the gym. Most HIIT routines are completed in 30 minutes or less.

The primary difference between HIIT and interval training is that the intervals of standard interval training are much longer than the intervals in HIIT. For example, an interval training workout might include 10 minutes of jogging followed by a two-minute walk. HIIT intervals are very brief—typically less than a minute in length, followed by a short rest.

Benefits of HIIT

HIIT training is designed to get the heart rate up and keep it up in order to burn more fat in less time. High-intensity exercise creates an oxygen shortage in the body, causing Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), when the body requires more oxygen during recovery, thus burning more calories (known as the afterburn effect).

A HIIT workout resulting in EPOC also increases metabolism for up to 48 hours after the workout is complete, so you will continue to burn fat even after you complete your workout. HIIT builds muscle strength through bodyweight exercises, so although you’ll be burning fat and losing weight, you won’t lose muscle.

HIIT also improves heart health, as it pushes the heart rate into the anaerobic zone. One study found that after eight week of HIIT workouts, subjects were able to bicycle twice as long as they could prior to the eight weeks of HIIT.

One of the greatest benefits of HIIT exercise is that it requires no equipment, so it really can be done anywhere. The focus of a HIIT workout should be on pushing your heart rate to the max, so in some cases, equipment may even be a detriment.

Sample HIIT Workout

A sample HIIT workout might include:

50 sit-ups
30 second rest
40 jump squats
30 second rest
30 push-ups
30 second rest
20 jumping lunges
30 second rest
10 tricep dips
30 second rest
30 seconds of burpees

If you want to burn fat fast, while challenging yourself, try HIIT. You won’t get bored with the quickly changing intervals, and if you really push yourself, you’ll see results faster than you would with steady-state cardio exercise.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.