If you are looking for the fastest and most efficient way to burn calories than your decision lies in an otherwise strange acronym HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training.
But what is HIIT? High-intensity interval training exercises typically mixing high and low-intensity activities with short rest periods. For example fast, intense sprint up the stairs to the third floor followed by slow paced going down the stairs (active rest).
Why are HIIT workouts so effective?
Physiologically it is impossible to maintain a high-intensity interval training for a long period of time. When increasing the intensity it reduces the duration of the workout and vice versa.
If now I tell you ‘Go outside and sprint as hard as you can for 20 minutes! “, What will happen? In the first 10-20 seconds everything will be fine but after the 20th second the main source of energy for the body changes from ATP and phosphocreatine (high-intensity energy source) to lactic acid. You will still run in a full effort but it won’t be so fast.
The other reason we cannot maintain a high intensity for a long period is the oxygen. Your body uses oxygen to break down carbohydrates and fats, thereby releases energy. This process is very efficient but it does not allow you to train with high intensity. In aerobic metabolism, you gain efficiency at the expense of intensity. And vice versa – when you exercise at high intensity dominates the anaerobic metabolism in which the body fails to deliver enough oxygen to the necessary places. This process is inefficient but allows you to use all available potential of the body for a short period of time. In other words, we have two modes – aerobic and anaerobic with its advantages and disadvantages.
As we mentioned in high-intensity interval training we rotate periods of high intensity (e.g. 15-second sprint) with periods of low intensity (1 minute walking). Thus, the body switches between anaerobic and aerobic mode resulting in increased levels of several hormones: Testosterone, growth hormone, catecholamine (epinephrine and norepinephrine) and aldosterone. This creates a very favourable anabolic environment for building muscle mass and fat loss. The metabolism speeds up and stays active for hours after the workout. So you can enjoy increased energy expense even when resting.
How to adopt High-Intensity Interval Training?
There are all sorts of variations of HIIT but it is important to remember the basic principle – rotating exercises with high and low intensity with short rest periods. For example, if you normally do cardio on a stationary bike just increase the intensity enough to gasp for breath. Keep maximum pace for 15-20 seconds. Then reduce speed to restore breathing and pulse. The rule is the same regardless of the chosen activity: You can change the number of intervals and duration. Beginners can start with 6-8 rounds and gradually progress to 10-12. The duration of the periods with a high intensity can vary between 10-30 seconds and at a low intensity – between 40-90 seconds. It all depends on the experience and physical training. If your goal is a fat loss you can achieve effective results adapting drills with total duration in less than 20 minutes.
Classical program for burning fat
Warm up (optional): 3-5 minutes (low intensity)
High-intensity bursts: 15-30 seconds
Low intensity (recovery): 40-60 seconds
Make 8-10 circles
Cool down(optional): 3-5 minutes (low intensity)
* Training should last around 20 minutes.
** The ratio of the duration of the high to the low intensity is 1: 2 (for example, high intensity: 20 seconds of low intensity: 40 seconds)
Warm up: 3-5 minutes (low intensity)
High intensity: 20-60 seconds
Low intensity (recovery): 20-60 seconds
Duration: 20-35 minutes
Cooling: 3-5 minutes (low intensity)
* The ratio of the duration of the high to the low intensity is 1: 1 (e.g., high intensity: 20 seconds of low intensity: 20 seconds)