Articles – HITT: High Intensity Interval Training

HITT: High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has proven to be more effective in fat burning than low intensity exercise.

What is HIIT? It is short bursts of high intensity efforts, followed by active low intensity recovery. For example, sprinting at 16km/hour for 30 seconds, then walking for 1 minute 30 seconds. The heart rate rises quite high in the sprint phase (burning carbohydrates, using the anaerobic energy system and muscle), then lowers on recovery by walking (burning protein/fat, using the aerobic energy system and the heart).

For years, we’ve been told low-intensity aerobic exercise is the best method for burning off extra body fat. Research also indicates that the lower the intensity of the exercise the more percentage of fat is used as fuel for muscles, so in low intensity aerobic activity the body operates in a ‘fat burning’ zone which burns more fat than at higher intensity.  Unfortunately according to modern research, this just doesn’t seem to work very well.

It is interesting to see the shapes and sizes of people who enter fun runs. Not everyone looks like an Olympic Athlete! They are by no means in great ‘shape’, but are fit enough to run the distance. This proves that running at one speed or particular distance, is not the best way to lose fat. Interval sessions of speed or hill repeats need to be incorporated for weight loss benefits.

What can you achieve through HITT training?

  1. A toned, athletic body shape.

  2. More energy.

  3. Increased cardio endurance and fitness.

  4. Reduce the risk of disease, lower blood pressure and prevent type 2 diabetes.

  5. Lose weight, measurements and body fat percentages.

How can you incorporate HITT into your current training program?

  1. Walking: Every 3 or 4 minutes, Jog or Sprint for 20 seconds. Then continue to walk and repeat for the entire session.

  2. Running: Jog your normal speed and every 4 minutes add a 30 second sprint. Walk for 30 seconds then continue to jog. Repeat every 4 minutes for the entire session.

  3. Swimming: As well as your endurance sets, include repeats of 50m to 100m sprints. Recover for 15 to 30 seconds between each. Do as many as you can.

  4. Cycling: Stationary or Road, add sprints of 15 to 30 seconds. Pedal as fast as you can and recover with 30 to 45 seconds slow pedalling.

  5. Add HILLS wherever you can: walking, running, cycling. These really make you use your muscles and anaerobic energy systems.

Remember, you need to do AT LEAST 30 minutes of exercise MOST DAYS of the week. Obviously, the MORE you do, the MORE benefits (weight loss, fitness, energy) you will achieve.