Give Your Workout and Weight Loss a Boost

Give Your Workout and Weight Loss a Boost

I know you are all familiar with the most common benefits of exercise: helps to maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, increases bone density, lowers bad cholesterol, helps fight depression, and about 15 other proven benefits.  What you may not know is that there is now proven research on the extra benefits that come with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  This form of exercise has become an increasingly popular physical activity.  Boot camp classes, workout DVD’s and interval training classes are the number one most popular works according to a recent article in IDEA Fitness Journal.

Taking part in a class with a name like Boot Camp can be intimidating to say the least.  I teach a boot-camp style class on Edisto Island where our population is mostly senior, and many will not even come and try it because just the sound of the class seems too hard.  I have seriously thought about changing the name to Baby Girl Boot Camp, or something just as absurd, just to see if I might get more participation!

High Intensity Interval Training

The name “High Intensity Interval Training” can sound like it might be way too hard, but be assured that regardless of your fitness level, you can safely incorporate this kind of training into your exercise routine with excellent results.

What the research is showing is that out of all of the fitness modalities, HIIT will give you the best calorie burn for the time you invest, and you will continue to burn calories at a higher level after you have exercised.  To help understand how this works, if you compare a HIIT workout with a steady, continuous duration cardiovascular activity, such as power walking or jogging, the HITT workout burns more calories both during your workout and afterwards.  The reason is the higher intensity workout really gives your metabolism a boost.  Many of you have experienced a weight loss plateau.  This is a great way to break that plateau!

Short Bursts of Exercise

What makes interval exercise training so successful is that the specific exercises are not done for very long.   Short bursts of exercise with proper recovery will allow you to maintain a high level of intensity.

Instead of me trying to explain in my words how this works, this is from Cooper Aerobics and Wellness Center, Health Tips: “A HIIT exercise program often entails a lot of resistance and compound exercises. Compound exercises are holistic in nature and utilize more muscle and joint systems in large motion rather than a small, individual motion. An example of a HIIT exercise could be a deadlift that transitions into a hang clean then into a shoulderpress. This comprises a compound exercise, as multiple joints and muscles are moving at one time.

In compound exercises there is a competition for blood flow throughout the working muscles. If you were doing a single bicep curl, your blood would actually flow to that muscle. But compound exercises like a reverse lunge with a bicep curl, you have competition for which muscles get blood flow, oxygen delivery and lactate removal.”1

I hope the above explanation is helpful.  HIIT is based on doing a particular exercise for an amount of time with a certain amount of rest between the exercises.  This is called the recovery from one exercise to the next.  Since the work time on the exercise is only for a short time, you should be able to perform the exercise at a higher rate.  For example, if you do a 30-second jogging in place, your expectation for that interval is that you should be able to go faster and lift your knees higher than if you were jogging for two minutes. Learning to pace yourself and work at your own level is very important in interval training.

To begin HIIT training, a simple workout could be adding a sprint for a very short distance during your walk.  Having a stop watch on your watch or smart phone will be very helpful.  The way it works is to try sprinting for 30 seconds, followed by three minutes of jogging and one minute of walking for recovery. You can do this workout on a treadmill or outside. You need to determine how long you will perform each workout.  A workout like this could expend a ton of calories if done in just fifteen minutes.  That would be about three rounds of the above workout.

Great thing about HIIT training, which is not very different from any other exercise, it works if you do it!  Why not step out with your stop watch and give it a try!

Vicki Heath

[1] Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications