HIIT Training & Cardio – What Is It?
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when attempting to speed up their fat loss is by doing the wrong type of cardio work. IT IS A MYTH THAT LOW INTENSITY, LONG DURATION CARDIO WORKS BEST FOR FAT LOSS. Whether it is elliptical or treadmill, you will not see the desired results if you do a slow pace easy jog at 2-4 mph for 60 min.
High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT (1-2 minute challenges) is by far the best type of cardio for fat loss and for a stronger and healthier heart and lungs. If you’re asthmatic like me, HIIT Training will be great for you, but start slow first as we do not want you to have asthma attack in the middle of the workout. While it is true that low intensity / long durational type cardio (50-65% of your maximum heart rate) does take a higher percentage of energy from the fat cells, the problem arises when your body stops burning calories the second you stop exercising.
The positive effects of HIIT Training come after the session is over as the body adapts, changes, and reacts to the stimulation. When you do low intensity / long duration cardio sessions, the body says “it’s a good thing I had the energy in the fat cells”, so it stores more carbs into the fat cells. You actually create more of a fat storage machine. On the contrary when you do high intensity interval, the body says “it’s a good thing I had that glucose in the liver and the muscles” so it stores more of your future meals there. You actually create more of an energy storing machine.
How to apply HIIT Training to your workout
Pick any type of workout that raises your heart rate. I prefer the treadmill, power hiking and swimming. After a warm up, do 4-6 set of 1-2 minute challenges with each one getting slightly more challenging than the last. Rest enough between challenges to get your breath and energy back. Rest periods get longer between challenges as they get more intense. For me, I would warm up on treadmill for 2-3 min at 4 mph, and then I would sprint at 9-10 mph for 1 min, and then slow down the treadmill to 3 mph for 2 min …. I would repeat the cycle for 4 times with overall HIIT cardio length of around 15 -20 min. So here’s the breakdown:
1. Warm up for 4 min
2. Sprint for 30-60 sec
3. Jog (low pace cardio) for 2 min
4. Repeat #2&3 for 3-4 times
5. Cool down for 1 min
With your knowledge of HIIT Training, you can apply the concept to your regular routines. A friend of mine is doing HIIT training on his rowing machine by adjusting the resistance to increase and decrease the intensity of the workout. If you are a big hiking fan, do a small jog uphill for 1-2 min and then just slow down to regular hike. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, racquetball are games that involve around HIIT cardio as well, although those games are not in a controlled environment, which would make them a less efficient workout.
Need help with HIIT Training?
If you have more questions about HIIT cardio training, feel free to contact me.
I am a P90x Fitness Coach. I provide free fitness coaching for people who want to get in the best shape of their lives using P90x.