HIIT Cardio or High Intensity Interval Training Cardio – is one of the best ways for a person to keep fit.
It will also help you lose weight and keep you in a healthy lifestyle overall. Essentially, the workout is similar to regular interval training; it is just more intense. It means that there are short periods of intense anaerobic exercises followed by periods of recovery where the activity is less intense. It is classed as a cardiovascular routine and one workout is generally between 4 and 30 minutes in length. Generally, people start by doing it for just four minutes, then they gradually work their way up to the full 30 minutes. This way of working out is becoming increasingly popular because it has so many benefits for our overall health and well-being. People notice they are more athletic and have an improved physical condition, as well as better metabolism and faster burning of fat.
The Benefits of HIIT
HIIT has a huge range of benefits and many of these have been scientifically proven in recent years. Compared to other types of endurance training, HIIT is about four times as good as traditional training. Two and a half hours of HIIT is the equivalent of 10.5 hours of endurance training. This shows how much more intense this kind of training is. Furthermore, it has also been demonstrated that the metabolic rate is increased for 24 hours, which is mainly due to the consumption of excess oxygen. HIIT also seems to help those who have reached a peak in their regular workout regimes, allowing them to build bigger and better muscles.
There are also various benefits for the metabolic system. HIIT is known to burn more fat than any other workout. It is believed that this is mainly due to the fact that the resting metabolic rate is much higher. Furthermore, the workouts lead to increased tolerance of glucose and better skeletal muscle fat oxidation. Taking part in HIIT for just two weeks can create fantastic improvements in men and women alike. It is even believed that it could prevent type 2 Diabetes.
Furthermore, recent studies have demonstrated that HIIT can help a person avoid cardiovascular disease. This is particularly true for adolescents, meaning that HIIT is something that the entire family can take part in.
The Science Behind HIIT
HIIT uses aerobic and anaerobic exercises to the highest possible intensity. This is different from cardio exercises, where only aerobics are used. During aerobics, our respiration needs more oxygen in order to create sufficient energy. This is not needed during anaerobic exercises. What HIIT does is affect the muscles and their tissues at the cellular level. It changes the mitochondrial activity in the muscle cells. Numerous studies have now been performed, demonstrating that doing just 27 minutes of HIIT three times a week creates the same results as doing an hour of anaerobic or aerobic exercises five times a week. The benefits are far reaching, going well beyond the fact that less has to be done for the same result. The heart muscles are trained; it supports people who try to lose weight and creates bigger and stronger muscles. Clearly, this type of workout allows anybody to have a healthier lifestyle in doing very little work. After all, almost everybody who makes the effort to work out may as well do HIIT, which will take far less time overall. One the four rest days, people could also choose to do two days of a different type of workout, since these are just as enjoyable. However, always have at least two rest days a week. Even the biggest athletes and bodybuilders do not work out every day of the week and enjoy their weekend.
How Does HIIT Work?
HIIT starts by warming up. After this, three to ten high intensity exercise repetitions are performed. They are separated by medium intensity workouts so that the body can recover. And then, this is followed by a cool down exercise, which is a quiet time. The high intensity periods should be as intense as you can do them, the medium intensity parts should be at around 50% of that, and the cool down ones even less. HIIT doesn’t follow specific steps – instead, it encourages you to listen to your own body and change your intervals when you are ready. It is generally recommended to do a 2:1 ratio between the different periods. So, for instance, 30 seconds of sprinting, 30 seconds of jogging and 15 seconds of walking. There are various specific regimes that you could choose from. Let’s take a look at these options.
The Tabata Regime
The Tabata regime was one of the first HIIT workouts to be developed. It is based on a study performed by Izumi Tabata in 1996, for which he used speed skaters taking part in the Olympics. In his regime, people take part in 20% of really intensive training, set at around 170% of the normal maximum. After this, they have 10 seconds of rest and this is continued for eight cycles, or four minutes. The speed skaters in the study took part in this type of exercise four times a week, and had a single day of regular exercise and two days of rest. At the end, compared to a group that did regular exercises all week long, the athletes had experienced significant gain in terms of muscle, physical condition and anaerobic capacity.
The Gibala Regime
A second regime was developed by Martin Gibala at the McMaster University, which is in Canada. His team spent several years researching HIIT and in one study, they used a number of students who would take part in three warm up minutes, one minute of intense workout (at 95% of maximum), then 75 seconds in rest and this would be repeated eight to twelve times. The students did this three times a week and the results showed that their results were as good as those who worked out at a steady pace five times per week. The Gibala regime is demanding but it is short in duration and all that is needed is an exercise bike. Two years later, Gibala published a second version of the regime that is less intense. This was designed for people who have a bad physical condition such as those who hadn’t exercised for at least a year. This routine includes three minutes to warm up, ten 60-second bursts at 60% intensity and 60 seconds of recovery following each burst. Upon completion, a five minute cool down would take place. The results were similar and people would discover that they have a greatly improved physical condition.
The Timmons Regime
The last well known regime was created by Jamie Timmons. He is a professor at the University of Birmingham, specializing in aging biology. His theory is that using short bursts during which people go flat out is a better way to exercise the body. To this extent, he used a subject who was asked to do three two-minute bursts of gentle peddling and two seconds of flat-out peddling after each 60 second burst. He also included some warm up and cool down exercises. After the test, he reported that he noticed measurable improvements to the subject’s health, including better insulin sensitivity.
The Little Method
The Little Method was also developed by Martin Gibala, but this time in conjunction with Jonathan Little, both at the McMasters University. This specific method was developed in 2009. It uses high intensity workouts whereby the athlete works out at 95% percent intensity. The athlete works out at this high intensity for one minute, after which he goes to low intensity for 75 seconds. This is repeated twelve times, which means the full workout lasts for 27 minutes. The method should be used three times a week, with four days of rest, or two days of rest and two days of usual exercise. Again, the benefits from this type of workout are tremendous. This method is most suitable for people who already have an intermediate fitness level. They do need to have at least 30 minutes to spare three times a day.
Insanity Total Body Conditioning
Last but not least, there is INSANTY. This was developed by Shaun T and Beachbody.com, an athletic trainer and athlete. Here, people are asked to do eight sets of one to two minutes of cardio training exercises. The workout alternates and the cardio exercises stay at a high intensity. The workoutslast for about 45 minutes and there’s something new daily. With Insanity, you first spend five minutes or so warming up, after which you will jump right into the most fat devastating set of exercises you’ve ever encountered. You’ll be releived when you’re done and excited to do it all again the next day.
It’s one of the best hiit cardio training programs I’ve seen on the market and it gets results.