Tuesday, 25 December 2012

What Is High Intensity Interval Training?

By Howe Russ

It is often said that learning how to lose weight is sometimes needlessly over complicated. Despite the numerous scientific advancements we have made in the last 20 years, the old classic formulas still return the best results. One of those formulas is HIIT.

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.

Walk into any fitness center and you are going to notice two very different groups of people who prefer two extremely different training methods. You'll have those who are at their happiest when they are left to their own devices on a treadmill for an hour or more, then you'll have those who think that approach sounds like hell. This group like to focus much more on resistance training 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.

Who should be exercising this way? Well, to a certain degree absolutely anybody can get results with the many variations of interval training which are out there. It has been proven to burn fat at an increased rate and also to increase lean muscle tissue, so regardless of your overall fitness goal there is undoubtedly a place for this in your workout routine.

For those looking to lose fat there is one significant factor which makes high intensity interval training so appealing. This is often referred to as "The Afterburn Effect". When you finish a regular cardiovascular training session your body stops burning off calories the moment you leave the gym but with an interval workout you continue for up to 16 hours. This makes the fat loss benefits of this training method particularly great.

Take a look below at the most common variations of interval training and you will be able to apply one of these methods to your own training routine easily.

* The 4 minute workout developed in Japan, known as Tabata's.

* Interval training specific for sports.

* Weight loss workouts.

The Tabata method is designed for elite athletes or extremely fit individuals who are looking to increase an already high level of fitness. When you reach a level which is considered elite, you will notice gains are far harder to come by. For instance, think how hard a bodybuilder works to add an extra quarter of an inch to a muscle before a contest.

Despite already being considered 'elite' in their field, researchers found that a group of athletes who used this method were able to further improve their VO2 Max by a massive 28%.

Tabata intervals can be performed on any piece of equipment and the total workout time, minus warm-up and cool-down periods, is only four minutes long. Those 4 minutes contain of eight 30 second sections, each consisting of 20 seconds at maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of light recovery.

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.

The fat loss method is easily the most popular variation, however. If you are looking to use this workout style to increase your fat loss then you should pay particular attention to a recent study from scientists in Canada. They found that the optimal workout length was half and hour, consisting of a time split of 4 minutes moderate work followed by 30 seconds of maximum effort.

So you can now clearly see that there are multiple benefits to performing high intensity interval training. No matter if your fitness goal is build muscle or lose body fat, there are a number of rewards waiting for those who have the determination to push themselves through this type of workout.

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.

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