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Interval Training For Maximum Calorie Burn

Oct 7, 2010

Ok, so how many of you out there have had this happen to you? You hop on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, or whatever piece of cardio equipment you prefer, you set a speed and just go, and go, and go. You don’t touch the incline, change the speed, or even the type of cardio you’re doing, you just drone on for hours on end to no avail. You do this for weeks, maybe even months and you ask yourself, “Why am I not losing weight? Why am I not seeing results?” Sound familiar? This pretty much sums up what the term “cardio” has come to mean. People get the misconception that in order to lose weight, you have to do mass amounts of cardio for hours on end. Not true! And plus, who can honestly say they have the time for that? If you could, wouldn’t you like to put in just half the time of your normal “cardio” and get twice the result?

In comes high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high intensity work. This high intensity work is alternated with periods of rest or low activity. The term can refer to any cardiovascular workout (e.g. cycling, running, rowing, etc.) that involves brief bouts at near-maximum exertion interspersed with periods of lower-intensity activity. For instance, you may be on the treadmill at a recovery (lower effort) speed of 5 mph for 2 mins. Following that 2 mins you increase the speed to 8 mph for 45 seconds. You may repeat this for a total of say 30 mins or you could perform a certain number of repetitions of that interval group.

The reason that HIIT is so much more effective is due to the fact that you are working at a much higher intensity/heart rate than you would during regular steady state cardio. As a result, this causes a greater increase in calorie burn and metabolism function. Typically, with conventional cardio, once you finish, your metabolism returns rather quickly to it’s near resting state. With HIIT, however, since you were at a much higher HR/intensity, your metabolism remains elevated for even hours after you are finished!! So not only are you burning more calories during your workout (in a shorter time than you’re used to mind you), but you’re even burning more calories after!!! Talk about more bang for your buck!

Let’s take a look at some of the tremendous benefits of HIIT:

  • You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
  • You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.

Here are 3 sample HIIT routines you can try on your own!

Week 1 Cardio:

1. 2 minute warm-up

2. 1 minute as hard as you can go

3. 2 minutes at a moderate pace

4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 six times

5. 2 minute cool-down

Week 2 Cardio:

1. 2 minute warm-up

2. 1 minute as hard as you can go

3. 2 minutes at a moderate pace

4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 five more times


Schedule a complimentary fit evaluation so we can get to know you and your goals and build you a customized training program to reach them.