High-Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is very popular and widely used for fat burning, muscle building and boosting metabolism. Personally, I love it. I don’t enjoy long runs, treadmills, elliptical machines and hours on the bicycle. I like the short bursts, the heart pumping and feeling the burn.

What Is HIIT?

The accurately poetic acronym HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. A HIIT workout mixes shorts bursts of activity with even shorter rest periods. Ideally, you work to your maximum capacity during the short bursts of activity, hence the use of “high intensity” to describe those intervals. Because you are pushing your limits, these workouts tend be shorter, rarely passing the 30-minute mark.

HIIT workouts are scalable to any fitness level, making it a popular format for group fitness classes. Your goal is push yourself to 90% of your personal max in the intense intervals, and this varies among individuals. Using the rate of perceived exertion scale to measure your efforts helps keep the workout individualized.

You can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, including running, swimming, and cycling, as well as strength training with exercises like burpees, squats, and push-ups. HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work-to-rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. For example, you work for 40 seconds at your max and rest for 20, repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets. The Tabata Protocol might be the most well-known HIIT workout. Its eight rounds of 20-second intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest make it one of the hardest four-minute workouts you’ve ever done.

The Benefits

  • HIIT workouts are efficient; since you’re working to your max, you burn more calories in less time.
  • Adding intervals into your workouts helps you burn more fat during your sweat session.
  • Interval workouts, compared to steady-paced ones, have a higher afterburn effect, meaning you continue to burn calories after your workout is over for a longer period of time.
  • HIIT workouts also increase your endurance. So when you do go for a long, steady-paced run, you can go further.
  • Health-wise, intervals improve your cardiovascular health, cholesterol profile and insulin sensitivity (which helps fight type 2 diabetes).

YOGA

Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing techniques, yoga postures (asanas) and meditation.

The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. In the fitness world, both are extremely important. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging, and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health.

Other physical benefits of yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility.
  • Increased muscle strength and tone.
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Cardio and circulatory health.
  • Improved athletic performance.
  • Protection from injury.

dsc_0405