Get a lean muscular body with high-intensity interval training.
Incorporating bursts of intense activity with rest periods, high-intensity interval training helps improve your fitness and build a lean muscular body with short, sharp intense workouts. A challenging form of exercise, high-intensity interval training has numerous benefits such as accelerating fat loss. Be cautious if you are new to exercise. Start at a relatively low intensity and gradually ramp it up as you get fitter and stronger.
Traditional moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate can last up to two hours or more depending on your fitness level. High-intensity interval training at 75 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate can last as little as 25 minutes or less. This helps you fit in an exercise routine into a busy lifestyle.
You can incorporate high-intensity interval training into various training regimens such as weight lifting, body-weight exercises, swimming, running, bicycling or sports-specific exercises. For example, three to four circuits of barbell squats, bench press, deadlifts and low pulley rows, with two minutes rest between the circuits, gives you a HIIT workout of approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Metabolism and Fat Loss
High-intensity interval training boosts your metabolism, improves your ability to burn fat, and accelerates weight loss, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. You use more oxygen and glycogen-- carbohydrates stored in the muscles and the liver-- during interval training than moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Your metabolism is elevated for up to 24 hours post-exercise, your body using fat for energy as it recovers, and replenishes expended nutrients.
Short intervals of intense activity at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate followed by rest periods of less intense activity at 50 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate burns more calories than steady cardiovascular exercise says the ACSM. For example, a short HIIT routine of 10 to 15 minutes alternating sprints with brisk walking, burns more calories and helps you lose weight more effectively than a 30-minute jog.
High-intensity interval training increases your cardiovascular fitness. A study published in the April 2007 issue of вЂњMedicine and Science in Sports and exercise,вЂќ split 40 healthy non-smoking men into four groups. One group ran a long distance working at 70 percent of maximum heart rate, and another ran at 85 percent of maximum heart rate until the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles forced a pause. The other two groups performed interval running of different intensities measured by maximum heart rate. The interval training groups significantly increased their VO2max, or maximum oxygen uptake, compared to the non-interval groups. VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize while exercising. The better your cardiovascular fitness, the higher your VO2max, and your heart and lungs have an increased ability to supply the required blood and oxygen.
Writing for Bodybuilding.com, exercise physiologist and fitness trainer Jim Stoppani Ph.D., says HIIT helps you burn fat while retaining muscle. This is of particular significance to bodybuilders and people who wish to gain and maintain muscle mass while keeping low levels of body fat.