We've all heard about HIT (high intensity training), but what makes it such a super fitness strategy? Many reasons. Not only is it a great fat-burning tool, but it can help increase speed, agility, strength, and overall fitness and athletic performance. As a fat-burner, working out at varying levels of intensity has been shown to be superior to steady-state cardio. The concept is that when you vary your intensity, your body doesn't have a chance to adapt to a steady-state (heart rate). Once you enter into a steady-state, the body conserves energy to adapt and protect itself. When you vary intensity, you keep your body guessing, therefore burning more calories in a shorter amount of time and raising your metabolism. But wait, there's more! Varying your workout with HIT programs may also help prevent injury, since you aren't putting stress on the same muscles in the same way, time and time again.
Is HIT training for everyone? It can be, but you have to modify it to your own fitness level. There are endless combinations of HIT training, and generally applies to cardio training, running, sprinting, biking, or spinning, though it can be applied to weight training as well. HIT combines short bursts of intense activity followed by a slow-down rest period, followed again by a high-intensity burst of activity. This activity is repeated over and over for a period of anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. Here are a few examples of an HIT program on a piece of cardio equipment:
Example 1- 30 second burst followed by 1 minute recovery OR 1 minute burst with 2 minute recovery
Example 2 - Interval Climb - Start at a low level for a few minutes, then bump up the speed a few notches for 30 seconds, then bump it up again for 30 seconds, and again until you've hit 2 minutes, then back down for recovery for 2 minutes.
Don't replace HIT training for all other kinds of training. Integrate it into your routine a few days a week and always give yourself 48 hours of recovery. It's a great strategy and technique to confuse the body and make it harder for it to adapt and get the metabolism burning.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of HIT is it's just more fun. And what's fun will keep you coming back, and coming back is the *only* way to keep on fat-burning!
by Heather Frey
Founder and President of SmashFit.com, Motivationalist, CPT, Writer, Artist, Spokesperson, Fitness Model, National Figure Competitor
Visit SmashFit.com for more fitness information and motivation. Follow SmashFit on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/SmashFit) and "Like" SmashFit on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SmashFit). Connect with founder Heather Frey here: www.facebook.com/HeatherSmashFit.