High intensity interval training has been proven to be one of the best ways to lose body fat. This isn’t even debatable; it works, plain and simple as that. I’ll even give you some examples to show you a bit later in this article. Not only is it effective, but it is efficient, taking much less time than steady state cardiovascular exercise. I personally love it and have been using it for quite some time. Despite the effectiveness of this mode of training, many people don’t utilize it, but why is this?
First off, I think many people simply don’t know about this means of training. They haven’t heard about it and haven’t found out the tremendous benefits that can be achieved from this type of training.
Secondly, for the people that do know about it, this way of training can be difficult to perform; you will be uncomfortable while doing it. If you are not willing to go beyond your comfort zone a bit, this type of training probably is not for you. However, if you are willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone, this method of training can be one of your best weapons for fat loss.
What is high intensity interval training?
High intensity interval training is a type of training where you mix short bouts of high intensity exercise with less-intense recovery periods. These recovery periods could be either active or passive. An example of an active recovery period would be walking or jogging between sets of exercise. During a passive recovery period you would simply stand between sets of exercise.
In a real world application of high intensity interval training you would sprint for 10 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds and repeat this for a few sets. This is just one example and there are essentially an endless amount of possibilities for what you could do. Whatever protocol you choose will be based on your current activity level and how hard you are willing to work in training.
What are the benefits of high intensity interval training?
One of the biggest benefits of high intensity interval training is fat loss. This should excite you! This is also the reason why I have the majority of my clients do some type of high intensity interval training in their workouts.
Utilizing high intensity interval training, Jerry, one of my clients, lost over 70 lbs in a little more than a year. The proof is in the pudding; this type of training works!
Since knowing about just one person getting results with a certain type of training simply is not enough, let me give you some more proof in the form of a few of research studies.
- 15 women had an average of 5.5lbs of fat loss from a 15-week interval training program. This included 20 minutes of cycling with 8 seconds of sprinting followed by 12 seconds of recovery.
- 46 overweight men lost 4.4lbs of body fat over 12 weeks of an interval training program that had the same parameters as the study above.
- A 16-week study of male athletes using high intensity interval training four days per week resulted in an average of 4.4lbs of body fat lost.
- An average of 3.3lbs of fat loss took place in a group of elite wrestlers over an 8-week time frame.
This type of exercise really does work and it has been proven over and over again. Now, you just need to know how to get started.
How can I implement high intensity interval training today?
A few different factors go into choosing an interval training protocol that is right for you. Here are some things you should do:
- Select a mode of exercise. With high intensity interval training you can use a wide variety of mediums that include running, biking, weight lifting, and many others. Start with one and see how it goes. You could always switch things up and try a few different ones to avoid boredom,but please don’t do this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWCE02HrMV4
- Select an interval ratio and time. This is going to depend a lot on your ability level. The better cardiovascular shape you are in the lower work to rest ratio you can use. Try starting with a 1:3 or 1:4 work to rest ratio with shorter interval times and progress to longer intervals. An example of this would be 30 seconds biking hard followed by 90 seconds of less-intense biking. You could progress from this starting point in two ways. The first would be to lengthen the interval time. You could go for a minute hard and 3 minutes at an easier pace. The second would be to shorten the recovery time. Instead of 90 seconds of rest try 60 seconds of rest.
- Select the amount of times per week. High intensity interval training should not be done every day; it is simply too taxing on your body. Start with 1 or 2 days of high intensity intervals a week and progress to 3 or 4 days per week. If these intervals are done properly, at a high enough intensity, 3 days per week will be plenty for you to see some amazing results.
You can probably tell that I am a HUGE fan of using interval training for fat loss and I could probably talk about this type of training all day. Not only is this training effective, but it takes a lot less time than steady state cardiovascular exercise; perfect for those people claiming they don’t have time for exercise (I don’t believe in the no time excuse, but that’s an article for another day).
If you want a structured workout program that will incorporate high intensity interval training based on your exact training needs, give online personal training a try. With this mode of training you can get a customized workout program from a certified professional at a fraction of the cost of 1 on 1 training in person.
Is this still not what you are looking for? If so, then click here for one of the best fat loss manuals out there from the 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the year Brett Klika. I was lucky enough to intern for with him for an entire summer.
I hope this article has given you the push you needed to use interval training to help you get the most from your workouts. If you have more questions or concerns about this type of training feel free to leave a comment below.
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Heydari, M., Freud, J., et al. The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males. Journal of Obesity. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
Hottenrott, K., Sebastian, L., et al. Effects of High-Intensity Training and Continuous Endurance Training on Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition in Recreationally Active Runners. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2012. 11, 483-488.
Trapp, E., Chisholm, D., et al. The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. International Journal of Obesity. 2008. 32(4), 684-691.