If you’re looking to continuously lose weight and increase your muscle tone with your workout and you’re not seeing this with hours on a treadmill or elliptical at a constant pace, you’re going to need to switch things up a bit. What generally happens when you do constant work at a consistent pace is that you see results in the beginning, but sooner or later, you plateau. The best way to avoid this is by doing High Intensity Interval Training, or what the fit gurus call HIIT.
HIIT focuses on speed during your workouts rather than length of time spent working out. These types of workouts generally only last 20 minutes or less and can actually result in up to 9 times more fat loss than you would get out of a similar cardio workout at a more moderate pace for a longer period of time. HIIT is definitely a no frills way to see results quickly, in not just fat loss but more toned muscles and increased strength as well.
There are two main types of HIIT workouts; the 30 Second HIIT and the 60 Second HIIT. The 30 Second HIIT is probably the one that is suited best for those new to HIIT. To complete this workout you will need to run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, it should feel as though during those last few seconds you’re going to collapse, this is normal and expected.
You might be used to saving your energy for later on in your workout, but this should not be the case in HIIT. Give all you got in the first half then you can pull back later on in the workout. When you first start doing HIIT workouts, you’ll start with just 6 intervals and then over time, move up to intervals of 12. When starting out, you’ll take rest periods of 90 seconds between intervals, then when you graduate to intervals of 12 your rest periods will only be 30 seconds. Be sure to stretch fully before each workout and start with a warm up and end with a cool down, trust me, you’ll want one!
The 60 Second HIIT is the same as the 30 second one, but are of course longer. The reason for this is that the shorter ones aim toward adaptation and conditioning your body to this type of workout, whereas the longer ones actually completely deplete your glycogen (the stored carbohydrates and energy in your muscles). It takes between 24 and 48 hours to replenish that energy so that means that this type of HIIT leads to direct fat burning, which leads to greater weight loss in less time that traditional cardio workouts. The intervals and rest periods will be the same for the 60 second HIIT as they are for the 30 second HIIT. For even better results, alternate your 30 and 60 second HIIT throughout the week.
An alternative version of HIIT that combines it with a traditional cardio workout would be running as fast as you possibly can for two to three minutes, then switching to a brisk walk for two three minutes, then go back to the fast running and alternate for as long as you’d like your workout to be. You can do this outdoors or on a treadmill. Also keep in mind that HIIT doesn’t have to be just running, you can do this with just about any type of exercise that you like.