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HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training. What it is and Why You Should be Doing It

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Trying to Lose Weight By Doing Cardio?

Not getting anywhere fast? Many people that struggle with weight loss spend a lot of time doing cardio. In fact, the Cardio section of my gym is always packed. The problem is how they’re going about it. You rarely see anyone doing HIIT training. Usually it’s a slow walk/jog on the treadmill, or a casual ride on a bike, and a slow pull on the rowing machine. Rather than increase your time that you spend exercising, it’s better to increase intensity, while keeping the time the same.

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT Training is an exercise program alternating periods of short intense exercise periods, with less-intense recovery periods, in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, rest periods/sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. You can read more about it here:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=621

It consists of a warm up period, followed by 3 to 10 repetitions of a high intensity exercise, separated by slower intensity exercise for recovery, and ending with a cool down. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The slower one should be about half the intensity.

Most people don’t try it because from across the room it looks so easy: Sprinting for a mere 30 seconds and then walking?  Ha Ha! They laugh. If done correctly, it’s tough and can only be done for a short amount of time. HIIT burns more calories and more fat than the boring, steady rate exercises, for the same length of time!

Ignore those “fat burning” modes on the treadmill. If walking with that little intensity worked, you’d be melting off the fat while walking around the mall! Also, you’ll have an elevated metabolic rate long after the HIIT exercise session is over.

HIIT basically involves going All-Out, as fast as you can possibly go, for 30 seconds, and up to 2 minutes time, and then for 1 to 2 minutes you should slow down and recover.

To give you an example as to why you burn more fat and calories with a faster pace than the slow, ‘fat-burning’ mode, check out this equation:

4444Photo courtesy of Ashley Herkommer

Let’s say ASHLEY walked on the treadmill in the ‘fat-burning’ mode and burned off 200 calories. The mode tells her she was burning up 85% fat while she worked out. Sounds great, right? Okay, so if you do the math, she burned off 200 calories and 160 of those calories would come from fat. Woo hoo!

Now let’s say AUTUMN did a HIIT training session on the treadmill in the same amount of time, alternating sprinting and walking. She is only burning 65% of fat though, at this high intensity. You laugh at her and say “Ha Ha!” But wait. AUTUMN burned a total of 400 calories and multiply that by the 65% and it works out to 260 FAT calories. Who burned more? Who got a better bang for their workout?

 

HIIT Training Examples

RUNNING
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Start with a warm-up, then when you feel you are ready, sprint all out, as fast as you can, for as long as you can. Stop running, and then walk for a good 1-2 minutes to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. D0 this routine again and again.

 

BIKING
colleen
Typically, sitting down decreases the intensity, so you may need to ride longer or increase the tension on the bike. After a warm-up, try to pedal as hard and fast as you can for as long as you can. Then slow down and pedal very slow to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. Do this routine again and again. Make sure to cool down when you are finished.

 

SWIMMING
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After a warm-up, swim hard and fast for 25 meters, then swim slowly for another 25 meters. Try to make every swim-sprint a little tougher than the one before. Make sure to rest and cool down once you are finished.

 

WALKING
kasey1
Yes! You can do this with walking as well. After a warm up, walk hard and fast for as long as you can with long strides. If you are doing this on a treadmill, you can increase the elevation to make it tougher. Then, slow your pace and walk slow to recover for 1-2 minutes. Cool down.

The Benefits

You definitely get great results over a short period of time and it will improve your cardiovascular fitness levels. Talk to your doctor first about your capabilities and tailor it to your exercise level. With intense exercise bursts like this, injuries are always possible, so make sure you start slow, and then work your way up. Initially your sprints can be for a mere 5 – 10 seconds, Make sure you have enough rest and recovery after the workout.

Even without HIIT, the higher speeds burn more calories. For instance, did you know:

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Have you ever tried a HIIT workout? What did you think? Will you try one the next time you do cardio? If so, let me know how it goes!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Exercise: Do You Really Know What You’re Doing?

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What on Earth Are You Doing?

My last blogpost, Why You Won’t Lose Weight From Exercise Alone, sparked the next series of questions: If you are exercising, are you even doing it correctly? My comment about: “I won’t even get into the ones that pig out all day and then casually stroll around the block every evening after dinner,” got a lot of people to ask: that’s not enough? Yeesh.

No, a casual stroll will do nothing. Especially if you’re talking on your cell phone while doing it. Also, slowly pedaling on a stationary bicycle while leaning back and reading a book: Not Exercise. The proper way to know if you’re getting a real, good workout, is to exercise in your target heart rate. A simple equation is:

220 minus your age. So let’s say you’re 47 years old, your MAXIMUM heart rate should be around 173 beats per minute.

To determine your heart rate while you’re exercising: take a quick break, check your pulse and count the beats per a 60 second time period. (or you can do a 10 second time period, and then multiply it by 6.) This chart will show you how hard you’re working. It will also show you how out of shape you are. If a casual stroll around the block has your heart rate at 180 beats per minute, you are Out of Shape! On the other hand, very conditioned athletes may have lower than average heart rates because their hearts have learned how to adapt and work more efficiently. Therefore, everyone is different and you need to know what YOUR max heart rate is, and what range you need to exercise in.

Heart_rate_chart                                       Image Courtesy of http://www.cybexintl.com/ 

Range of Heart Rate determines where you should be at certain times. You should not be at your max heart rate all the time, actually it’s impossible to be there for more than a few minutes. But you should test your heart rate to see where you normally are. If you’re always at the 50% range, you may not be working hard enough. If you’re always at the 85% range: is that too high? Or are you out of shape and any exercise you do, drives your heart rate up? You should vary your workouts though, so that some are high intensity and some are low. Mix it up.

Another way to determine if you’re exercising hard enough, is to gauge your breathing. You should be ABLE to talk, but feel that you don’t really want to.

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If you’re weightlifting, and don’t rest between sets (and text your friends) you can get your heart rate up pretty high, as well. (Yes, you can get a cardio workout from lifting weights. Test your heart rate and see). But, if you want to know if you’re lifting heavy enough to build muscle, then once you’ve lifted weights long enough to be comfortable with your routine, you can test this out: You should NOT be able to lift the weight or push the weight, for more than 10 reps. If you are lifting a pretty pink weight 18 times, it’s too light. Trust me.

Here is another graph displaying where you should be according to your level of fitness. You want to start slow, but then make sure you make improvements!

target-hearrate-chart      Image Courtesy of ACEFitness.com

How Much Do You Need to Exercise?

It depends what your goals are. If you’re trying to lose weight, then 1-2 lbs of weight loss per week is recommended for slow, healthy weight loss. 3500 calories = 1 pound of fat. So divide that by 7 (days in a week) and you would need to get rid of 500 calories a day to lose 1 lb a week. So, you can burn (exercise) off 500 calories a day, eat 500 calories less a day, OR a combination of both (eat 250 calories less and burn off 250 calories a day).

Want to lose it faster? Then eat a lot less and exercise a lot more.

If you find you’re losing weight in the beginning, but then it slows down, look at your exercise routine. If you’ve been doing the SAME routine for weeks, then you’re burning less calories now because it becomes easier and you exert less energy. Also, when your body is more conditioned, it gets used to your exercise routine, so you need to do MORE to continue to lose weight.

Or, again, you can eat less. If you’re already eating very little, (1,000 calories a day) then you cannot eat any less, so you will need to exercise more.

As for how long and how many times per week should you exercise? Read this for more detailed information on that: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/exercise-frequency/

How many of you frequently check your heart rate? Do you push yourself at each workout? Do you mix it up to get your heart rate up to different levels?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Why You Won’t Lose Weight From Exercise Alone

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11

That Damn Growling Stomach

When you begin an exercise program, whether it be cardio, weights, or a class with a combo of both, your metabolism speeds up and your stomach never seems to stop growling. Sound familiar? Ever run a mile, come home, and your brain’s telling you to hit the fridge? Suddenly you’re starving and can’t seem to shut the voices up. Then you tell yourself: “Well, I just exercised so I should eat.” You pop a David’s Cookie in your mouth or one of your kid’s chocolate puddings and suddenly the 150 calories you burned off from your run was negated by an innocent pudding cup.

You run for a half hour, three days a week, with the same run/snack cycle and wonder why you haven’t lost any weight.

You sign your kids up for sports to help them become more active and stop the steady weight they’ve been putting on over the years, with the fear of obesity looming in their future, but instead of giving them a banana and water after their hour-workout, you feed them a 16oz Gatorade, Brownie Bites and a bag of chips. “But they exercised!” you say.

I won’t even get into the ones that pig out all day and then casually stroll around the block every evening after dinner.

Some people think if they exercise they can eat whatever they want.

adamz

“I worked out twice this week, so I have a free ticket to the all-you-can-eat buffet.” It doesn’t work that way and it doesn’t take that many calories to overcompensate for the gains you made through exercise.

I worked in a gym as a dietitian for two years. It was a one-on-one personal training gym where you could only work out with a trainer and most members came in 2 -3 times a week for their half hour training session, Then, once a week they came in to see me, get weighed and talk about what they ate over the week. After two years they never lost any weight. Most thought that since they worked out for the big 60 – 90 minutes a WEEK, they could continued to eat however they wanted. Other’s complained of being hungry and they were “Starving to DEATH!” Others (most of them) lied about what they were really eating and after weeks, or perhaps months, finally revealed the alcoholic beverages they drank, the undocumented juices, iced teas, and sodas they consumed, the late night snacking, the hot dogs they grabbed on the way to catch the train home from work, the portions-sizes they were really eating, and the ‘rewards’ they gave themselves every week (day) for working out.

These were educated individuals. Doctors, lawyers, professors, accountants, etc.

Working out 1 hour a week (in a 168-hour week) does NOT make up for the sabotage you did the other 165 hours. If you want to lose weight, stop kidding yourself and lying to your friends and family. You cannot drink alcohol. You cannot skip meals and then make up for it later by binging. You cannot eat ‘good’ all week and then pig out non-stop all weekend, you cannot have a banana for breakfast and then a Big Mac for lunch.

You cannot treat yourself to that ‘one’ piece of cheesecake, that ‘one’ Taco Bell meal, that ‘one’ Dunkin Donut Pumpkin Muffin, that ‘one’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme, that ‘one’ piece of cake for your co-workers birthday, that ‘one’ happy hour with five beers, wings and potato skins, and that ‘one’ dinner out with your loved one complete with drinks, appetizers, and dessert, BECAUSE at the end of the week, those ‘ones’ become “tens.”

girl named dharon on Plinview moms can cook

You need to make the commitment to change everything. Eat healthy all the time and exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be tortuous. You don’t have to give up everything you love. You don’t have to suffer, and cry and whine like a three-year-old. You’ve had many days, months, and I’m sure, YEARS of overindulging, not exercising, partying way too much, and look where it has gotten you.

Stop making excuses.

  1. Join a gym and find something there you enjoy doing. It’s a measly half hour a day. Go early, late, after work, on your lunch hour. FIND the TIME!
  2. Throw out all the junk in your house. Stop buying it. No one needs it. If they don’t like it, tough. It’s your money, your house, tell the kids to get their own apartments and your spouse too.
  3. Drop your portions by a third (at least).
  4. Find foods and recipes you all love. No one said you had to eat powdered food, packaged TV dinner-type lunches, bean sprouts, cardboard-tasteless meals, or boring snacks. Look up recipes and use your imagination. There is a plethora of foods you can now sample at every type of supermarket.
  5. Ditch all those crappy carbs already!  What are we, four-years-old?
  6. Eat more fruits and veggies. Stop saying you hate them. This is not your mom’s canned peas or your grandmothers creamed spinach. There are a million varieties and ways you can eat them. Like Fresh. And raw. And right off the vine/tree.
  7. If you MUST eat take-out, cause you can’t pour yourself a nutritious bowl of cereal with berries when you get home late from work, then use your common sense and choose the healthier options offered. And get “small.” Not large. Not Super-size. Small. You are feeding yourself, not the extra fifty-pounds on you. Stop feeding it. It’s becoming a whole other person. Starve it.
  8. Reward yourself with non-food items. Like how about praise, and compliments, and self-confidence, and power and strength. You want to feel good about yourself? Stop wallowing in self-pity and give people a reason to look up to you, ask you how you did it, come to you for advice, and damn, let them be a little jealous. Maybe you can turn around and help them one day. Be their Inspiration.

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So, what do you think? Are we going to do it this year, or what? Let me know.

I love hearing from you!

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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