Monday, June 10, 2013

HIIT To The Rescue

Conventional wisdom says that steady state cardio, working out at 65-80% of your maximum heart
rate, was the best way to burn fat and calories. Once you hit 20 minutes at that pace, your body starts to dip into your fat stores for energy. The longer you work past that 20 minute mark, the more fat you burn. Sounds like an easy enough formula…if you enjoy spending hours on a cardio machine or pounding the pavement outdoors.

Personally, as far as cardio goes, if it isn’t choreographed and set to music, I don’t particularly enjoy it. Fortunately, along came HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training. Sports coaches have known the secrets of HIIT for years, they just had other fun names for it (think, Fartlek). The fitness industry got ahold of it and gave it a label that is making headlines in health and fitness publications all over the country.

HIIT is simply a workout that prescribes all-out effort for a short(ish) burst followed by a lower intensity interval to catch your breath, repeated several times for a total workout that can be effective in as little as 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The real fat burning work with HIIT happens after the workout. Your resting metabolic rate stays elevated for up to 24 hours after a HIIT workout. Not so much with steady state cardio. Without those high intensity intervals, once you stop, the fat burning engine idles back to neutral.

Stay tuned to future posts with example HIIT routines I’ve done recently. Meanwhile, here are some articles worth reading on the subject:

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