Long gone are the days when working hard was deemed as a desirable virtue. The schedules of today call out for smart work. Why not stop killing ourselves by training more and devoting the time saved, to our families?
And in your journey, let HIIT be your vehicle of choice.
What is HIIT?
Known by a variety of names that include Wind Sprints, High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or Sprint Interval Training (SIT), and catchy names like Body for Life workout, HIIT is an enhanced form of interval exercise. The intervals are basically alternating periods of workout – Short and intense, spaced by Long and less intense. The lesser intense period or the recovery period, is usually called EPOC or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.
The Strategy Behind: Maximum output in limited time 
USP: Fast paced, non-stereotypical, no equipment necessary
Background: It was developed during the 70s by track coaches to prepare runners for greater efficiency. In those days people knew it by the name of “Fartlek” training, which stood for Speed Play in Swedish.
Over the time, four kinds of regimen have been developed independently by various coaches and hence the names, Peter Coe regimen, Tabata regimen, Gibala regimen, Timmons regimen, though the results are almost same.
Exercise Session of HIIT
An ideal session of 4-30 mins comprises of warm up, 3-10 reps of high intensity workout (90% of heart capacity) of 30-40 seconds duration. The reps are separated by periods of medium intensity workout (50% of heart capacity) of 15-20 seconds duration. The closing ceremony is of course a 5 minutes cool down phase. Beginning with a ratio of 4:1, athletes gradually advance to 2:1 ratio of work to rest.
Though after the intense session you’ll not feel like cutting up on the recovery period, but still, its my duty to remind you not to over-train yourself. Recovery period is utterly crucial as this is the time your body needs to replenish lost oxygen. Precisely that’s why your heart rate is still hyped up when you are recovering from an intense workout.
People call it an advanced level of aerobic exercise but ever wondered what they mean by that?
Well, our body has two kinds of energy systems – Aerobic and Anaerobic. Similarly, muscles are also of two types – Slow twitch (aerobic) and Fast twitch (anaerobic). In usual cardio workouts, slow twitch muscles are trained. But we never push our limits to anaerobic, ignoring the fast twitch muscles and that exactly makes all the difference.
When you train with HIIT, aerobic system provide energy first but it gets depleted very fast due to the high intensity. As a result, anaerobic system gets down to work and lends energy as a debt to the aerobic system. In the process, you are training your fast twitch muscles which in return raises your endurance level.
So, when you are in the recovery period, your body is still burning calories to replenish the debt and hence, your heart rate is still on a high.
Evidently, its like a quick way to get fit, though not an easy quick way.
Who should do it : Only those people whose primary concern is boosting cardiovascular fitness and endurance without the loss of lean muscle mass they already have. With that I’m already assuming you are able to exercise 20-30 minutes continuously to upto 70% of your estimated maximum heart rate. If not, please get your requisites in place first.
Who should not do it :
- Folks suffering from cardiovascular problems or
- Health concerns (physical) that could limit their ability to exercise at very intense levels
- People new to aerobic exercise or not in good shape already
If you fall into any of these categories then, HIIT is not for you—at least not for now. For any doubts, you must always consult your physician first.
- Always warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes
- A burning sensation in your muscles will serve as an indicator of entry into anaerobic zone
- In case of chest pains or breathing difficulties, cool down immediately but don’t stop or else you might faint due to a sudden shock
- HIIT should only be done twice in a week and never more than that
- Your diet must have 20% carb content to be able to generate energy for the intense sessions
- Weight workouts: Your weight workouts must not be very heavy and voluminous if you are going for HIIT
- Don’t go for it if your primary goal is to lose body fat
- Make sure you have a good recovery system
Isn’t it another name of CrossFit Training?
- No weights in HIIT (usually), as the regime comprises of sprints, spinning, burpees and like, when on the other hand CrossFit is a combination of Weightlifting and Gymnastics.
- HIIT is not random unlike CrossFit where you get a new Workout Of Day for every session.
- HIIT has programmed resting periods while in CrossFit, its more like a race against time.
- HIIT does more good to Weightlifters than CrossFit since CrossFit involves usage of weights mainly.
Benefits of HIIT
1. Intermittent sessions with high and low intensity help develop focus.
2. Extremely time efficient as training time reduces to half with a positive influence on the outcome.
6. Since you rarely require any gym or equipment, you can do it almost anywhere.
7. No bulking up, only an athletic built. Are the ladies listening?!
8. Enhanced lactate potential of the muscles. Lactate potential refers to how fast the body is able to remove the waste of lactic acid produced during exercise which is linked directly to higher endurance levels.
10. Fat loss and a leaner fit body. 
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