High-intensity interval training is becoming a common component in weight loss and bodybuilding programs due to the fact that it speeds up the fat burning process.
Losing fat happens when you burn more calories than you consume. By creating a calorie deficit, your body draws on your fat stores for energy.
What is unfortunate is that most people turn to traditional methods of cardio, hopping on treadmills or exercise bikes, running or pedaling at a constant speed for 30 minutes or more. These exercises obviously take up a lot of time, can be hard on your joints, tire you out and before long you're bored and you give it up. This is a common scenario.
What's more effective for burning calories is the high-intensity interval training workout. It takes up less time, provides plenty of variety and burns the same, if not more calories when compared to traditional calorie burning methods.
A high-intensity interval training workout involves exercises which vary in pace from quite moderate and relaxed, to fast-paced and intense. These exercises usually alternate between two levels of intensity in short spurts or durations.
By alternating between moderate and fast-paced, your body is able to perform with much more intensity which normally cannot be sustained for prolonged periods of time, and the moderate pace allows you to catch your breath in readiness for the next burst of high intensity.
A typical workout could look like (but isn't restricted to) the following:
1. A five-minute warm-up period to get things moving!
2. Jog at a moderate pace for 1 minute.
3. Sprint at full speed for 20 seconds.
4. Repeat the jogging/sprinting process 6 to 10 times, depending on your fitness level.
5. Cool down for 5 minutes.
The entire duration of this exercise session including your warm up and cool down should last between 15 and 20 minutes and it is not restricted to jogging/walking. You could alternate other exercises, as follows:
1. Jump rope/march on the spot
2. Cycling at varying speeds
3. Burpees/march on the spot
The intense part of your workout must get the heart rate going while the moderate part should allow you to catch your breath, in readiness for your next high-intensity burst. The main advantage of a high-intensity interval training workout is that you will burn more calories in less time than you would by exercising at a steady pace for 30 minutes or more. The high-intensity part of your intervals pushes your body's metabolism higher, burning more fat than if you were moving at a steady pace. This alone is reason enough to do intervals rather than steady paced cardio!
High-intensity interval training workouts should be combined with resistance (weight) training exercise for maximum results and should be performed after you have done your resistance training. Combining your high-intensity interval training and resistance training sessions can quickly boost your metabolism and your body can begin to properly repair muscle later on (remember your post workout meal!). Normally, if you were doing ancient cardio exercises once your resistance training, your muscular growth would be impaired as a result of your body would lapse into the post-weights anabolic section.
High-intensity interval training should most definitely be an important part of your fat loss or bodybuilding program due to both the time and effective benefits achieved by doing so.