Monday, 20 June 2011

High Intensity Interval Training

An explanation of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and how I am going to use it to supercharge my training this week.

Interval training burns more calories, fat and improves cardiovascular fitness more effectively than steady-state exercise.  A steady-paced thirty minute run on a treadmill will burn a certain number of calories and is useful exercise but if this is all you do week in and week out your body will adapt and become very efficient - meaning less calories burned.  You need to constantly challenge your body and interval training - with bursts of hard effort, interspersed with medium effort or recovery will use different energy systems and different types of muscle fibres therefore increasing the calorie burn both during exercise and for up to 24 hours after.

Interval training can be introduced to all types of exercise - running, swimming, etc.  Circuit training (Knockin Village Hall 7.30pm Tuesdays! http://www.happyfit.co.uk/da/108199 ) is a perfect example - cardiovascular exercise interspersed with weight training and resistance work giving you an all-over body workout.  Bootcamps are also based on interval training principles.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT takes this up a notch - from hard effort to maximum effort. Which also means less time required (which is a consideration in my busy life!) in fact, a HIIT workout shouldn't really exceed 20 minutes and can be much shorter.

Both interval training and HIIT are valuable components to any exercise programme but should only be undertaken once or twice a week.  Steady-state exercise can then form the other half of a balanced programme and one type of exercise will improve your performance in the other.

Interval training and HIIT in particular are only appropriate for healthy individuals who already have a reasonable level of fitness.  HIIT is not appropriate for beginners and anybody with any concerns should check with their doctor. 

My programme for this week:

Monday - 3 mile run
Tuesday - HIIT session + Pilates
Wednesday - 4 mile run
Thursday - Pilates
Friday - Interval training on treadmill plus weight session
Saturday - REST
Sunday - 5 mile run

HITT session - 30 secs on each exercise, 10 sec recovery, 2 sets with 2 minutes recovery between sets
warm-up 5 mins and cool down and stretch for 5 mins
Exercises - squats, shoulder press, lunges, tricep dips, press-ups, the plank, bicycle crunch, skipping, mountain climbers, star jumps, squat jumps
total 16 mins plus 10 mins warm-up and cool-down

Wish me luck!

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