High Intensity Interval Training – An overview

High intensity interval training is becoming very popular these days. With so many people striving to be fit yet not having hours in the gym to workout there is a need to get a lot done in a short amount of time. As you can imagine since this is called high intensity training that this involves very short yet difficult workouts.

Now intensity is relative to each person. What would make a routine intense for me would be entirely different for something that would work for you. If you have a lot of weight to lose then you may find some of the most basic routines to be intense enough to help you feel like you accomplished a lot.

These routines are short. Typically you should not spend any more than 30 minutes doing a HIIT workout. There may be times when it would be appropriate to spend more than 30 minutes but overall you should strive for your workouts to be brief.

The reasons why people lose fat with HIIT

The body responds to the intensity of your exercises it turns out. While there may be people in the world that can walk for many hours at a time and lose weight it is far more effective to stimulate a real environment which means varied intensity and varied exercises daily.

Clearly your goal when working out is to lose fat, some also may want to gain muscle at the same time. A high intensity routine will help with both aspects and that ultimately is what is going to help you get leaner and fitter than ever before.

HIIT routines simply cause your metabolism to speed up. You see the body has to react to such a high intense program that you are giving it and this in turn will cause you to lose body fat.

Using Free Weights or Body Weight Exercises

When you begin this journey of using HIIT workouts it may be advisable to start off just using your body weight to begin with. If you feel you need to use weights then something light would be best. Always start off slowly or gradually because you are far more likely to get injured otherwise.

You may see others who use different methods to add resistance to their HIIT workouts. For instance Bodyrock.tv introduced many to this concept of training for a short period but with a high intensity and you will see many of the people on those video’s use a sandbag or some other unique devices.

HIIT Training on the Treadmill

Many people don’t consider the treadmill a piece of exercise equipment associated with HIIT routines. However, you can easily create some by using varying speeds and inclines to create a workout that would challenge even the fittest among you.

As well there is this perceived need to always go in one direction with the treadmill. You don’t have to do that, you could walk or run backwards on the machine, as well you could even walk sideways if you so desired. Of course it would be best if you were very comfortable using this treadmill and knew what you were doing.

If  you are unfamiliar with HIIT on the treadmill then it may be best to consult with a trainer or a friend who knows what they are doing. By getting the proper instructions you should be able to avoid any potential problems.

Perceived Exertion Scale

When discussing HIIT you will run into something called the perceived exertion scale. This scale is something that varies from person to person and as you become more physically fit you will also have to adjust your own scale so as to keep up the intensity to get the desired results.

Obviously someone who is a couple hundred pounds overweight will find that they are exerting a lot of energy even with little movement because their body is so out of shape. Monitoring your heart rate throughout the time you are exercising is crucial, you don’t want to over do it and cause damage to your heart.

Using a timer to help with the intervals

You can buy a GymBoss timer to help you with the intervals in your training. The benefits of using a GymBoss are that it can be set up to give you short moments of rest in between each set of exercises. These little devices are not that expensive and they are crucial to your overall success if you are planning on performing HIIT routines regularly.

Where can you find HIIT routines?

There are many free routines for this type of exercising on bodyrock.tv and dailyhiit.com as well there are others who are contributing to this movement by also adding their own interval routines. Not only that but you can find various DVD programs from companies like BeachBody that can add to the variety. Les Mills Combat is a great example of a DVD set that contains a lot of HIIT routines that are fun and relatively short.