High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that combines two of the most effective fat burning methods. HIIT is composed of alternating periods of intense effort with periods of moderate-to-low effort. By combining the two, you can maximize fat burning and muscle building potential through significantly shorter workouts.
HIIT training can include just about any exercise as long as it involves cardio. You can do an all cardio HIIT or you can do a partial cardio with strength training. Determining the length of your intervals really depends on your current conditioning level and your specific workout goals. Starting with a few repeats of shorter intervals of work and longer intervals of rest, over time your conditioning will improve. You can then increase the work interval duration, decrease the recovery interval, and increase the number of sets.
Some fun little facts:
The harder you work, the more oxygen your muscles require. It takes approximately five calories to consume one liter of oxygen.
Working your body to it’s VO2 Max (the highest amount of oxygen consumed by your body during exercise), triggers an afterburn affect. An afterburn affect is when your body continues to burn calories even after your workout. HIIT training can trigger that afterburn affect for up to 48 hours post workout.
Interval training boosts your metabolism significantly longer than a steady workout of an even longer length. For example, a 20 minute workout of alternating high/low intensity periods burns more calories than a 20 minutes work out of steady intensity.
Interval training also builds lean muscle tissue faster than a steady state training.
HIIT training is not for everyone. It is an incredibly effective method for improving fitness in a short time, but is extremely taxing on your body. It requires discipline, dedication and determination. Do you have what it takes?!
I can’t explain the amount of truth in the saying “You can’t outrun your fork”. I’ve come across so many people that believe as long as they work out and stay active, they can anything they want. That is definitely not the case. Definitely not.
I believe the importance of stretching is under-emphasized. It isn’t that often that you walk into a gym and see members doing pre or post workout stretching. I’m hoping by sharing the effects and benefits it will make you consider adding it to your workout routine.
Stretching warms up muscles making them more susceptible to the workout. Warmed up muscles receive the utmost benefit from a workout and will grow faster and healthier. That’s right – stretching before a workout will make you stronger. It is also necessary for increasing your range of motion. Stretching releases synovial fluid that is stored in the joints. This fluid lubricates all the joints, protecting them from friction and injury. Stretching brings blood supply to the soft tissues. This improves endurance so you don’t tire as easily. It also helps to elongate muscles, provide flexibility, promote healing and prevent future injury.
Failure to stretch before your workout may result in decreased performance. Your muscles may feel sore at the end of your workout because of the strong contractions gained from sudden, forceful movements. Soft tissue tears may occur in the muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as sprains and strains. Having these problems then affect your activity inside and out of the gym for days and possibly even weeks.
Post workout stretching is just as or if not more important than pre workout stretching. Working out a muscle or muscle group means it has been continually contracted in the main workout. Stretching helps with getting the muscle back to it’s normal length. It also helps to alleviate potential soreness.
Tips for a good stretch:
• Start your workout with a stretch routine and end your workout with a stretch routine. Try and target all muscle groups, major and minor, that will be/were used during your workout.
• Hold each stretch for a slow count of 10-15. Stretches being done in too quickly of a manner are pretty much ineffective. Do them slowly and pay attention to the stretch.
• Breathe into each stretch to take it one step deeper. Exhale on the exertion.
• A little pain is okay and means that the stretch is working; a lot of pain means you’ve gone too far. Stop immediately and return to a light recovery stretch.
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