High-intensity interval training is the term given to intense, short bouts of intensive exercise followed by a brief rest period. It’s fast enough to allow the heart rate to diminish but not enough to offer complete relief from the intensive bout. There is a reason for this, which we will go into.
Keeping it sustainable allows your body to accelerate its caloric burn for as much as a day or two after the workout. This is why HIIT is only taken on for short periods (about 20–25 minutes) and is best kept separate from any other activity within that day (unless you are training twice a day).
It’s so much more effective and time-efficient than jogging for hours, which would usually require quite a lot of time and effort. With HIIT, you can get in the gym or perhaps outdoors and do your thing.
You are not only subject to hill sprints or sprinting on your bike; you can use weights as a means of creating a perfect environment for HIIT. Not only will you get the benefits of burning those stubborn fat stores, but you will also reshape and strengthen your body in the process. This is very similar to circuit training. The difference is you do pay a large amount of attention to form, mind & muscle connection and the regular speed of the repetitions. This may sound like a mouthful, but think of it as your normal weight training routine, but adding in about 3–4 more exercises one after the other. There is no rest in between, apart from when you finish the complete step.
Many people believe that longer workouts are more effective. This is further from the truth. More extended activities based on strength are essential, but you can get a lot out of short, intense and burst like training methods. This is especially beneficial for those who lack time and would prefer lean muscle mass results.
In summary, you may be executing high-intensity training both in your cardio and weight training. If you are sweating, gasping for breath and spent by the end of 20 minutes, I pretty much guarantee that you just did some form of a HIIT workout.
Don’t be put off by the high intensity of this training. If you would like fast results, you cannot go wrong by allowing this type of exercise into your fitness regime a couple of times a week. That’s all you need to shift the fat loss needle.
Last but not least – recovery from HIIT
As mentioned above, 2–3 times per week is sufficient. When taking a day off, make sure you are still doing some form of active recovery. That will help to lessen the soreness.
It’s essential to allow your nervous system to recover well. If you are in a hurry after your session to get to work, then make sure you have a good quality protein shake with the necessary amino. This is my favourite one which is free of refined sugars and additives. Placing yourself in a highly stressed environment soon after your training can drain your reserves quite a lot. Plan your workout and nutrition as best you can, and always have a shake and some water handy when things get tough.