High-intensity interval training workouts use the idea of ​​performing maximum cardiovascular effort for short periods of time. Typically, when people run on a treadmill, ride a stationary bike, or exercise on an elliptical, they choose an increment of time, usually 30 to 60 minutes, and then exercise at a steady pace for the selected time.

In high intensity interval training, also called HIIT, people will only exercise for 20-30 minutes. Within that 20- to 30-minute HIIT workout, the routine is divided into a 3-minute warm-up followed by intervals lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute where you run, bike, or pedal the elliptical at your maximum. physical effort. Then, you get a 1-minute recovery period before doing the next 30-second maximum effort interval of your HIIT training workout. Continue your exercise in this manner leaving 3 minutes at the end for a cool down.

Why is this more effective than the traditional long-duration steady-pace cardiovascular program? First, during high-intensity intervals, you use different types of muscles that burn more energy than muscles used during a steady-pace cardio workout. With the constant change of pace, your body does not have the opportunity to adapt to any type of exercise and therefore burns more energy. One of the biggest benefits of HIIT training is that during your recovery period after leaving the gym, your body continues to burn calories while repairing itself. So you’re essentially burning calories during the times when you’re not even exercising. This is what makes HIIT workouts so effective for weight loss. You can see this coaching philosophy in action if you’ve ever watched popular television. shows the biggest loser. You also hear about HIIT workouts when celebrities explain how they were able to lose a huge amount of weight for a role in a movie.

HIIT workouts are also effective in helping to add lean muscle mass when the workouts are combined with a high-quality protein diet. This is evident if you have ever seen the difference between the body composition of a sprinter vs. that of a marathon runner. Sprinters have very defined muscles because during workouts they use a different type of muscle fiber called fast-twitch muscle fibers. The body uses this type of muscle for activities that require short bursts of muscle contraction. Slow twitch muscles are the opposite. The body uses these types of muscle fibers for activities that are performed at a constant rate for long periods of time. Use this training method and you are sure to get results.

The bottom line is that unless you’re training for a long-distance run or marathon, you don’t need to do long-duration, low-intensity cardio. If your goals are adding lean muscle mass, HIIT workouts to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health are the way to go.

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