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What Is The Best HIIT Workout?

What is the best HIIT workout? High Intensity Interval Training has become a popular way to burn more fat, improve endurance, and build strength.
Q

What Is The Best HIIT Workout?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn more fat. It's a training method that has been effective for many people.

What is the best HIIT workout? Be specific.

Who would benefit the most from an HIIT regimen?

What kind of results can you expect from HIIT?

How does HIIT compare to other training methods?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

First Place TUnit

High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular way to burn more fat. It's a training method that has been effective for many people.

What Is HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

"In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise - up to 50% more efficiently." It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. (www.musclemedia.com)

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

Anaerobic Energy System

Anaerobic literally means "Without oxygen." The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete's muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

Aerobic Energy System

Aerobic literally means "with oxygen." This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

What is the best HIIT workout? Be specific and make sure to list exercises, reps, sets, etc.

HIIT can be used with a few different goals in mind - to lose as much fat as possible while cutting or bulking, or to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance as much as possible. Diet will mostly determine how these goals are achieved by manipulating calories and macronutrient ratios.

HIIT during a Cutting Phase:

  • 500 Calories under maintenance daily
  • High Protein (40% of total calories)
  • Low Carbs (20% of total calories)
  • High Fat (40% of total calories)

It has been proven in studies that during a low carbohydrate and high fat diet, the oxidation of fat is increased during exercise, especially cardio such as HIIT (more fat is burned). Additionally, fat is a much more highly concentrated source of energy than carbohydrates.

"A review by Hultman (1995) found that during a diet where carbs are restricted and a lot of fat is consumed, up to 70% of the energy requirement (even during high intensity activities) comes from the oxidation of fat (where during a high carbs diet, such activities would derive 80-90% of the energy from glycogen)." (Thibaudeau)

Sample: 2000 Calories Daily

  • 200 Grams of Protein
  • 100 Grams of Carbs
  • 90 Grams of Fat

Staple Supplements:

HIIT during a Bulking Phase:

  • 500-1000 Calories over maintenance daily
  • High Protein (30-35% of total calories)
  • High Carbs (45-50% of total calories)
  • Low-Medium Fat (15-25% of total calories)

Sample: 4000 Calories Daily

  • 300-350 Grams of Protein
  • 450-500 Grams of Carbs
  • 70-110 Grams of Fats

Staple Supplements:

HIIT to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance, maintain bodyweight:

  • Maintenance Calories daily
  • High Protein (35% of total calories)
  • Medium Carbs (40% of total calories)
  • Medium Fat (25% of total calories)

Sample: 2500 Calories Daily

  • 215-220 Grams of Protein
  • 250-275 Grams of Carbs
  • 70 Grams of Fat

Staple Supplements:

  • Whey Protein [Suggested: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey] (Post Workout and Post-HIIT)
  • BCAA + Glutamine [Suggested: SciVation Xtend] (Pre- and Post Workout/HIIT)

Pre-Workout: 30 Minutes Before
Post Workout: 30-45 Minutes After, Creatine immediately after workout

For all three of the aforementioned options, high water intake (1.0 - 1.5 gallons daily) should be prioritized. Also, you should get at least 8 hrs of sleep daily to help you recover well from the weight training and HIIT.

HIIT Workout - Cutting Phase

Arm Circles

General Warm-up/Flexibility Routine

  • Touch Toes - 15 Reps (Touch toes quickly, come right back up and repeat)
  • Lunges - 10 reps/leg
  • Side Lunges - 10 reps each direction
  • Butt Kicks - 25 yards
  • High Knees - 25 yards
  • Arm Circles - 20 reps
  • Trunk Twists - 20 reps
  • Side Bends - 20 reps

Weeks 1-2

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 3-4

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 9 More Times (10 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Brisk Walk, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 9 More Times (10 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 5-6

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 11 More Times (12 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 11 More Times (12 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 7-8

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 14 More Times (15 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 14 More Times (15 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest
  • Notes: Brisk walk and jog are at 65-75% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
    Sprint is at 90-95% of your MHR

HIIT Workout - Bulking Phase

General Warm-Up/Flexibility Routine (Before every weight training and HIIT session):

  • Touch Toes - 15 reps (Touch toes quickly, come right back up and repeat)
  • Lunges - 10 reps/leg
  • Side Lunges - 10 reps each direction
  • Butt Kicks - 25 yards
  • High Knees - 25 yards
  • Arm Circles - 20 reps
  • Trunk Twists - 20 reps
  • Side Bends - 20 reps

Weeks 1-2

  • Monday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Wednesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 4 More Times (5 Minutes Total)
  • Thursday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Friday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 3-4

  • Monday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Wednesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 6 More Times (7 Minutes Total)
  • Thursday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Friday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 5-6

  • Monday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Wednesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 8 More Times (9 Minutes Total)
  • Thursday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Friday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest

Weeks 7-8

  • Monday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Wednesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 10 More Times (11 Minutes Total)
  • Thursday - AM Upper Body Weight Training
  • Friday - AM Lower Body Weight Training
  • Saturday and Sunday - Rest
  • Notes: Jog is at 65-75% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
    Sprint is at 90-95% of your MHR

HIIT Workout - Improving Aerobic & Anaerobic Endurance

Dumbbell Lunges

General Warm-Up/Flexibility Routine (Before every weight training and HIIT session):

  • Touch Toes - 15 reps (Touch toes quickly, come right back up and repeat)
  • Lunges - 10 reps/leg
  • Side Lunges - 10 reps each direction
  • Butt Kicks - 25 yards
  • High Knees - 25 yards
  • Arm Circles - 20 reps
  • Trunk Twists - 20 reps
  • Side Bends - 20 reps

Weeks 1-2

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 7 More Times (8 Minutes Total)
  • Sunday - Rest
  • Weeks 3-4

    • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 9 More Times (10 Minutes Total)
    • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 9 More Times (10 Minutes Total)
    • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Saturday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 9 More Times (10 Minutes Total)
    • Sunday - Rest

    Weeks 5-6

    • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 11 More Times (12 Minutes Total)
    • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 11 More Times (12 Minutes Total)
    • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
    • Saturday - PM HIIT Workout
      30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 11 More Times (12 Minutes Total)
    • Sunday - Rest

    Weeks 7-8

  • Monday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Tuesday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 15 More Times (16 Minutes Total)
  • Wednesday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Thursday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 15 More Times (16 Minutes Total)
  • Friday - AM Full Body Weight Training
  • Saturday - PM HIIT Workout
    30 Seconds Jog, 30 Seconds Sprint, Repeat 15 More Times (16 Minutes Total)
  • Sunday - Rest
  • Notes: Jog is at 65-75% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
    Sprint is at 90-95% of your MHR

Note for all routines: After doing the dynamic stretching, warm-up with a 3-4 minute light jog and also cool down with a 4-5 minute light jog as well. This should be done at approximately 50% of your MHR.

Who Would Benefit The Most From An HIIT Regimen?

Someone looking to burn as much fat as possible during a cutting phase, someone looking to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase, or someone looking to increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance significantly would all benefit greatly from a HIIT regimen.

Athletes who participate in a sport where the intensity varies constantly will benefit greatly as well. HIIT simulates a sport like basketball or soccer very well in that low to moderate intensity is constantly alternated with high intensity.

What Kind Of Results Can You Expect From HIIT?

HIIT will accomplish two goals: it will help accelerate fat loss and improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance. HIIT will most likely produce very fast results in a short period of time which is why it has been gaining popularity ever since it was introduced to the bodybuilding community.

Nobody can promise any specific results but it is feasible that after an 8-week cycle of HIIT combined with weight training, you and those around you will be able to notice a significant change to your body. Athletes will be able to perform better in their given sport and will outperform others toward the end of games when everyone else is getting tired.

How Does HIIT Compare To Other Training Methods?

Scientific literature suggests that HIIT is much more effective than regular cardio for accomplishing both of the goals stated earlier. "The reason that High Intensity Interval Training works better [than normal cardio] for fat loss is this:

When you do a cardio session at the same pace the whole time, your body goes into what is called steady state. This means that your body has adjusted itself to the speed you are going and tries hard to conserve energy (calories). You will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and FAT by doing the interval training." (Source: http://davedraper.com/hiit-cardio-training.html)

Also, "A study at Laval University in Quebec, Canada found that HIIT cardio helped trainees lose nine times more fat than those who trained the traditional way (moderate speed for 20-60 minutes)." (teenbodybuilding.com)

HIIT stimulates the body in a way that cannot be paralleled by other methods of cardio. Constant change which allows for higher intensity is the key to HIIT.

2nd place bitterplacebo

HIIT is a relatively recent and unconventional training method that seems to be catching peoples' attention. Standing for High-Intensity-Interval-Training, HIIT offers an exercise concept unlike anything else. However, the main aim of HIIT, like many other methods, remains to be an overall reduction in bodyfat.

Although it does have a similar goal, HIIT uses a completely different set of principles to reach this success. The basic idea behind utilizing this interval training is to alternate a maximum-effort activity with a recovery period consisting of lighter work. Overall, the typical workout can last only about 15 minutes in total, but still have a dramatic effect on the loss of adipose tissue.

While such a short duration is appealing to many, HIIT is referred to occasionally as "Guerilla Cardio" for good reason. As we will see, by requiring extreme intensity and willpower, the results of this type of training often go above and beyond those of normal, steady-state cardio.

Workout

The basic concept is to alternate aerobic and anaerobic activities, but there is a lot more we need to know and certain requirements that should be met in order to get the most out of interval training.

What's The Difference Between Aerobic And Anaerobic?

Aerobic means "involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body". Aerobic exercise, therefore, enhances respiratory and circulatory efficiency by improving oxygen consumption. Aerobic movements require oxygen to generate force, and enlist slow-twitch muscles for activity over sustained periods of time (minutes to hours). Examples of aerobic exercise includes cardio, jogging, cycling, and running marathons.

Anaerobic, on the other hand, literally means "without oxygen". Anaerobic exercise, then, does not require oxygen to generate force. Anaerobic movements use fast-twitch muscles for short bursts of intense activity lasting only brief durations of time (ranging typically from a few seconds to up to a minute). Examples of anaerobic exercises includes isometric holds, sprinting, and high-intensity weightlifting.

The best way to get started with HIIT would be to keep things simple and progress from there. Keeping in mind that these workouts will require some time to recover from, they are best performed at a frequency of about 3 times per week on non-weight-lifting days. Each workout should be outlined similar to this beginner's layout:

Beginner's Layout

  • Minutes 1-4 (Warm-Up)
    Jog at about 50% effort
  • Minute 5 (Workout Interval 1)
    Sprint 30 seconds at maximum effort Jog/Walk 30 seconds
  • Minute 6 (Workout Interval 2)
    Sprint 30 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 30 seconds
  • Minute 7 (Workout Interval 3)
    Sprint 30 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 30 seconds
  • Minute 8 (Workout Interval 4)
    Sprint 30 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 30 seconds
  • Minutes 9-12 (Cool-Down)
    Jog at about 50% effort

After every two workout sessions, one can increase the number of "workout" intervals they do each time up until about 10 total "workout" intervals. This will allow for a steady progression of fitness levels, and help one realize the full potential and results of interval training.

While it's definitely possible to perform this training using a variety of methods like with a Stairmaster, bike, or treadmill, it's more beneficial to apply a simple unassisted running technique. Because sprinting causes a greater peak in oxygen consumption, it is most ideal for HIIT workouts.

It's been shown that the closer one gets to their maximum oxygen intake (or VO2max) while exercising dictates how much fat will be used for energy afterward. So the use of sprints conforms best to our goal of losing adipose tissue.

However, the option of sprinting is not always convenient for those who want to reduce the stress on their joints. For such individuals, a bike or elliptical machine may be the perfect solution. These types of machines might also want to be used once in a while just to provide a different stimulus for the body, and to prevent adaptation and plateaus. But for the most part, it's highly recommended to stick with the alternation of sprinting and jogging for HIIT.

For those who have progressed through the previous workout that was outlined and are still seeking new challenges, the following HIIT workout might do the trick. It's certainly not easy and might be the closest to being "the best" one can do for a HIIT workout in terms of intensity.

Advanced HIIT Layout

  • Minutes 1-4 (Warm-Up)
    Jog at about 50% effort
  • Minute 5 First-Half (Workout Interval 1)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 5 Last-Half (Workout Interval 2)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 6 First-Half (Workout Interval 3)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 6 Last-Half (Workout Interval 4)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 7 First-Half (Workout Interval 5)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 7 Last-Half (Workout Interval 6)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 8 First-Half (Workout Interval 7)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minute 8 Last-Half (Workout Interval 8)
    Sprint 20 seconds at maximum effort
    Jog/Walk 10 seconds
  • Minutes 9-12 (Cool-Down)
    Jog at about 50% effort

Using these 12 minutes as planned, for 3 times a week, will no doubt have anyone reaping the benefits of new leanness and more within 8 weeks. To help stay on track for the duration of the program it is be best to monitor heart rate during exercise in order to ensure that the desired intensity levels are reached.

Body fat and weight should also be recorded at least on a weekly basis so changes can be made to diet and training in order to better reach your goals.

Speaking of diet, no article discussing any type of training would be complete without touching upon nutrition. First off, just because one's goal happens to be fat reduction, doesn't mean they should stop consuming fat. This is one mistake made too often.

Dietary fat not only aids in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, but also helps regulate hunger and body temperature while providing essential fatty acids that the body does not produce on its own. Up to 30% of calorie consumption can come from fat before becoming unhealthy.

With the fat dilemma now removed, protein and carbohydrates make up the rest up the picture. As the main source to fuel intense workouts, carbohydrates should be eaten plentifully, but the majority should be of a less sugary nature. These low-glycemic carbohydrates, like oatmeal, whole-grain wheat bread, and sweet potatoes, are less likely to increase the storage of body fat.

Protein, as the main muscle-building nutrient, is a necessity to aid in recovering from the extreme intensities of interval training. It is often indicated to take in about 1 gram or more of protein per pound of body weight in order to prevent muscle loss during intense training programs. For those involved with weight-lifting routines, the amount of protein to eat is especially important to help recovery and in reaching mass-building goals.

A couple more tips concerning nutrition that can help drastically with fat loss goals are to perform HIIT workouts in the morning on an empty stomach, and to have a meal following the workout. Morning activities before food consumption are more effective at burning fat than the same activities done later in the day after having eaten. It's been shown in studies that fat is utilized up to 3 times more when cardiovascular exercise is done on an empty-stomach.

Finally, after having strained and shocked the body to its limits with a grueling HIIT workout it's necessary to get the nutrition required for starting the recovery process. This meal should be relatively easy to digest, and might come in the form of a shake. It should include both a source of quickly absorbed sugars for refueling and proteins to help rebuild muscle tissues. The easiest way this is done is probably to use some simple sugar like honey and a type of whey protein powder.

Who Would Benefit The Most From An HIIT Regimen?

Trying out a HIIT program is highly recommended for anyone not satisfied with their current progress in fat loss using steady-pace cardiovascular exercises. A procedure done over the course of 20 weeks with 17 subjects showed that average subcutaneous fat loss with HIIT was more than 3 times greater than with regular endurance training.

However, the benefits don't stop there. The short duration of the workouts associated with interval training prevent the body from entering the catabolic state that can happen with extended steady-rate cardio. This most often occurs when activities are prolonged and the body starts breaking down muscle tissue to use as fuel. Because it may also increase the production of many anabolic hormones, HIIT is the perfect method for losing fat while retaining muscle mass.

High intensity interval training has not only been shown to be superior to other forms of training, but it's also a way to escape the tedium of long, boring cardio sessions. Many of us do not have the time for such nonsense, while those that do often find themselves weary of the mindless task. HIIT provides a greater challenge, requiring greater resolve and concentration to complete.

Athletes may also benefit greatly from a HIIT workout program. Because of the explosive intervals of effort, sports performance will definitely show improvement. A great deal of sports require excellent agility and quickness. These characteristics should be more easily maintained throughout games and matches with the increase in an athlete's maximum oxygen uptake made possible through HIIT.

Despite the wide range of benefits that have now been made obvious, there are some people who may not find HIIT as acceptable as other training methods. Because preventing injury should always be first priority during any type of training, those whose weight makes it awkward to perform sprints may want choose some other cardiovascular method. Particularly obese or large bodybuilders may want to forgo HIIT in order to prevent the unnecessary injury that may occur as a result of a clumsy sprinting technique.

Furthermore, those with medical conditions like heart problems, diabetes, or respiratory problems might find it difficult or even dangerous to attempt the levels of intensity required by interval training. If any condition does exist, it's always recommended to consult a medical doctor before trying a new training program or technique.

The last kind of person who may want to think twice before starting a HIIT routine is the avid weight lifter. Recovery from an intense HIIT workout can tax the body's resources, so it is recommended that they be performed on "off" days from weightlifting.

For those who have weightlifting splits that span the majority of the days of any given week, these "off" days are not frequent enough to get the full results of the ideal HIIT workout program. So, those who do not want anything to interfere with the weightlifting component of their training may find it better to incorporate a less intense cardiovascular activity that is easier to recover from.

What Kind Of Results Can You Expect From HIIT?

There are a multitude of great results to be gained through HIIT, and nothing could express them more clearly than these bullet-points:

  • A better body composition. HIIT's short duration prevents catabolic states from arising and consuming muscle tissue, but at the same time elicits a strong fat burning effect. This ultimately means less fat and more muscle.
  • Those new to this type of training will possibly find themselves with better eating and sleeping habits as their body adjusts to the demands of the workout.
  • The quick and explosive method of a short HIIT workout can often lead one to feel more energized rather than drained. Overall a HIIT trainee may find themselves with a better mood and feeling more energetic.
  • Bouts of intense work effort that are associated with HIIT will better sports performance, with quicker and more agile movement.
  • An increase in VO2 max, or the maximum oxygen uptake that one has. This spells better anaerobic capacity for those who are interested in more than just a lean physique and want the ability to back it up.
  • Metabolism can be increased for the next 48 hours, helping to burn 50% more fat overall than steady-state cardio.
  • Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC): oxygen is consumed in greater amounts for a certain period of time after HIIT. This causes up to 9 times more fat being burned while in a resting state.
  • Anabolic hormone production may increase, allowing for gains in muscle mass.

How Does HIIT Compare To Other Training Methods?

Not only has HIIT been proven more effect at fat reduction than steady-state training, but it actually overcomes some of the downfalls related to extended duration cardio. The shorter duration of an interval training workout effectively prevents the body from entering a catabolic state where the body starts to use up existing muscle to help fuel the effort. HIIT may even promote anabolism and lean muscle tissue growth.

When it comes to other training methods, their duration is often extensive in an attempt to keep the body in the "fat burning zone" for a longer period of time. It's a shame that this same zone often ends up, at some point, being a "muscular breakdown zone" as well.

The biggest downside to HIIT is that it may take longer to recover from than less intense and slower, steady-state cardiovascular exercise. Even though the benefit of the HIIT intensity lies in its ability to increase metabolism and fat burning potential during periods of rest, some may not want to compromise their ability to fully recover. These would be the individuals that are heavily involved in other activities like competitive sports, weight-lifting, and bodybuilding.

When these types of physical expenditure are present and a priority, regular HIIT may become an undesired drain on performance and recovery abilities. If fat loss is a goal, but recovery time is also an issue, a walking workout program is the best remedy.

For walking at a pace that elevates resting heart rate, 85% of calories spent come from fat stores, and the workout is not difficult to recover from at all.

In general, it's our natural mentality to want better results in less time. Unfortunately many marketing gimmicks play upon this desire and fool decent people. It's good to know that HIIT is not one of these cases. The methods of intervals training have been researched and studied, with results that are tried and true. Showing greater benefits in the areas outlined above than other techniques, HIIT is a solid way for anyone to achieve their fitness goals - so go out there and give it a try, what have you got to lose?

References
  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
  2. http://walking.about.com/od/treadmillworkouts/a/treadmillhiit.htm
  3. http://ezinearticles.com/?HIIT-Your-Cardio-Hard&id=185964
  4. http://www.cs.unm.edu/~wneumann/files/guerilla_cardio.pdf

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How many exercises per body group for total body work out days? and rest periods between exercises?

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Great article, thanks!

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