With all of the aerobic videos out there, why should an athlete in training or someone trying to lose weight switch over to high-intensity interval training? Actually, you don’t have to switch. This is just one get-fit program; one method among many which can be added to your usual week between other workouts. Alternatively, this could become your main fat burning workout and there are lots of good reasons to rely on HIIT.

What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

A lot of workouts involve repetitive movements undertaken during a period of time: running, cycling, kayaking, etc. You just keep on pumping legs or arms which is boring. Maybe your workout is step aerobics in which moves are combined to form a routine with some more energetic moves interspersed with gentler ones. There’s a rhythm to this type of exercise too. That’s the problem: rhythm and flow fight fat loss.

During HIIT your body doesn’t get the chance to settle into a rhythm. Your metabolism is constantly challenged to keep guessing: what muscle group will you work out this time? What sort of move will you be doing? Several repetitions of one move are followed by a short rest, then another blast of cardio and potentially weights. Rest a little more, move on to another set of moves then do it all again for half an hour; maybe less.

You don’t have time to get bored, and before you know what’s happened the routine is over. This is so much easier to commit to for someone with a busy lifestyle and for individuals who don’t love exercising for more than a half hour or doing an hour of relentless, dull cardio.

Work Smarter, not Harder

Exercise gurus say that many athletes could cut their workout times by 1/3 if they switched from one of those evenly paced exercises to interval training. They would not only burn more fat than otherwise but also build muscle. Of course, if you want a skinny body, jogging is fine. If you want biceps and quads that stand out, however, you’ll have to do better than that.

Studies indicate that participants in HIIT workouts lose more weight over less time than participants in traditional exercise programs in spite of adding muscle. You don’t need to burn just calories: it’s the fat you are after and that’s why HIIT is so great. The intensity of your workout is such that you reach a point where you finally reach those fat cells and they melt away.

High-Intensity Interval Training Program

Use your own body weight, utilize free weights, lift kettle bells, or pick up items lying around the house. Buy a DVD, borrow one from the library, or check out some routines online. There is nothing complicated about HIIT, but wear good shoes to support your joints.

Use published workout ideas to exercise different parts of your body and to combine cardio with weight lifting for the ultimate workout. You will complete perhaps up to 10 reps, one set per series, stretch your muscles then move to the next muscle group.

Don’t worry about weights the pros are lifting: go at your own pace but keep building up. Keep life interesting by changing the series of moves daily. This will also give you a chance to rest an area of the body which got an intense workout. If you work on arms one day switch to legs the next. Each set is very short.

Words of Caution

Always hydrate properly and feed your body a nutrient-rich diet. It should contain minerals to replace what you lose when you sweat. There should be lots of protein for building muscle but also proteins your body will digest slowly in order to provide energy all day plus recovery.

Your multi-vitamin should contain cell repair agents and immunity soldiers like Vitamin C. Don’t forget to stretch while muscles are warm to prevent straining them and don’t strain during workout to the point where a move is painful. You just might hurt yourself and be benched, fit only for those long slow runs that you were hoping to give up for interval training.