By: Sylvia Anderson
The key, says fitness expert, Gina Harney, is in working out smarter, not longer.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a method that uses alternating bouts of high intensity exercises to achieve optimal results. HIIT involves pushing as hard as you can for a certain amount of time, and then recovering for that same amount of time, on repeat. HIIT workouts typically last 15-30 minutes at the most. The results? You will boost your fitness performance, aerobic capacity and your metabolism. Oh, and you'll burn fat like there's no tomorrow.
Getting Started with HIIT
Before you begin this type of training, says Harney, you want to make sure you have a good cardio base. For runners, you can base your interval training off of distance or time/minutes. So, for example, if you're on the treadmill, you might run as fast as you can for 30 seconds to a minute, and then walk slowly the same. If you choose a distance-based workout, you would do the same, but measure the intervals in portions of a mile or kilometer.
The key is to really, truly push yourself. Remember, you're working out for a shorter period of time.
Do HIIT Anywhere
If you're not the type of person who likes going to a gym, or you don't have time to go to the gym, you can practice HIIT at home, using your own body weight. Incorporate push-ups, squats, and tricep dips combined with higher intensity moves such as jump squats, burpees and jumping lunges. For the HIIT portions, you want your heart rate to increase rather quickly. Mixing strength moves and HIIT together keeps your heart rate elevated for most of the workout and allows you to burn more calories.
Heart Rate is the Key
Should you use a heart rate monitor to assess their performance? Not necessarily. You can measure your efforts with "perceived exertion." If you can say your entire address during the HIIT rounds of your workout, you could probably work a little harder. You want to get to the point where you can only say a word or two because you're that out of breath.
If you DO use a monitor, you'll want to get to about 85 percent of your capacity.
What about Diet?
Harney advocates a similar acronym for your diet:
H=Healthy... Unprocessed, whole foods.
I+I=Intuitive... Your body will tell you when you're hungry, as well as what you're craving. Your cravings will actually give you a good idea if you're deficient in something. For example, if you're craving salt, you need more sodium. If you follow your intuition, your eating is going to be more intermittent throughout the day, when you're actually hungry.
T=Tracking... track your food, especially when it comes to produce intake and water consumption.