Short Bursts of Intense Cardio Could Help You Lose Weight
For many, the thought of walking or running for hours each week on a treadmill—before or after a long day’s work—seems more like a form of punishment than something that supports the health of our bodies. We all want to find an exercise program that can accomplish the most in the shortest amount of time possible by maximizing our fitness levels, supporting our weight loss abilities and improving our health overall. The good news is, a lot of research supports the notion that doing shorter exercises at higher intensities can better support weight loss efforts than hours on the elliptical can.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also referred to as high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE), is a form of exercise which pushes your body to its metabolic limits. It involves quick, intense bursts of cardiovascular activity, followed by short recovery periods, performed in intervals. By ramping up your heart rate to its maximum safe level, HIIT helps you burn more fat in less time. And, HIIT exercises don’t stop in the gym, the afterburn (the post-exercise period following a HIIT workout)—in which the body continues to burn more calories and gradually returns to pre-exercise levels—can last up to two hours and net up to 15 percent more calories burned.
If you are struggling to lose weight, high-intensity interval training workouts could help you regain control of your health. Meet with a healthcare provider in who can help you design a weight loss plan incorporating physical activity, nutrition and other critical lifestyle components. Call (832) 532-0050 or contact us online to get started today.
What is the HIIT Program?
The concept of the HIIT program is simple: you give it your max, and then you relax. Well, maybe relax isn’t the right word, but you definitely slow it down. The intense workout portion should be performed at 80-95 percent of your maximal heart rate, while the recovery period usually is reduced to 40-50 percent of your maximal heart rate. An example of this is sprinting during your high-intensity interval and walking during your recovery.
Typically, the fast bursts of activity last for 30-90 seconds, followed by recovery for 30-90 seconds, but the duration of your interval is up to you. You simply repeat this cycle over and over for the duration of your workout session, normally anywhere from 15-60 minutes.
The benefits of an interval training program, are numerous and impressive. With HIIT, you can:
- Increase your metabolism
- Strengthen cardiovascular health
- Improve both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness level
- Target abdominal fat and reduce body weight while maintaining muscle mass
- Burn more calories than you would in traditional exercise programs
- Maintain healthy blood pressure
- Help control blood sugar
Best of all, you don’t need special equipment or an expensive gym membership; HIIT workout sessions can be completed just about anywhere.
Interval Training Weight Loss Programs for Beginners
While many fitness enthusiasts use high-intensity interval training to burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass, all fitness levels can benefit from HIIT. An interval training weight loss program can be modified to fit the needs of almost all fitness levels and even the special needs of individuals who are overweight or have certain medical conditions. This is because of its flexibility. HIIT’s interval structure can be applied to almost any form of exercise, be it walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, cross-training, or even incorporated into workout classes like Zumba or aerobics.
It is important to establish a base fitness level, develop muscle strength and learn proper exercise form before beginning HIIT training. Even fit individuals are cautioned to start gradually with one HIIT session per week and working up to no more than three HIIT sessions per week. The intervals should ideally be equal in time—1:1 intervals—but you may need to build up to that and start with 1:2 intervals, giving yourself twice as much recovery time than the intensity interval at first. The duration of the intervals is up to you and your level of fitness.
Not everyone is a candidate for high-intensity interval training. In particular, certain risk factors may prevent you from safely completing the exercises, including:
- Heart disease or family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
You should always consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise program who will review your medical history and current health state to help ensure your well-being and safety. Exercise is most effective for weight loss in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Your healthcare provider can devise a complete weight loss plan which incorporates everything you need to effectively lose weight.
If you are looking to lose weight or simply improve your level of fitness, high-intensity interval training may be the most powerful exercise program. Request more information about HIIT and other weight loss services today. Call (832) 532-0050 or contact us online.