Most of the clients that come to us would like to lower their body fat. Whether it’s a thirty-something looking to be slimmer for her holiday, a forty-five year old mother looking to feel a little better or regular gym goer trying to finally attain that six pack, keeping body fat low without resorting to elaborate diets is high on most people’s list.
To almost every single one of these people we recommend one training modality that will get them where they want to be. It is the most efficient and the most effective way to exercise and it is High Intensity Interval training (HIIT).
HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise that alternates short intense bouts of work with lower intensity recovery periods. Sessions last no longer than 20 minutes and research conclusively shows these short and intense workouts are the most effective in:
• Improving fitness
• Increasing resting metabolic rate (the energy you burn when you’re doing nothing at all)
• Increasing fatty acid utilisation
• Improving heart and vascular function
Put simply, together these benefits combine to burn the most fat and are your quickest route to becoming slimmer, fitter and looking and feeling great.
So what exactly should you do? To begin with take a 1:2 work to recovery ratio and apply it to a cardiovascular exercise of your choice. We’re going to exercise hard for 20 seconds and then bring the pace right down for 40 seconds in order to recover. This is one whole work-recovery cycle and lasts 1 minute. For our first workout, 15 of these cycles is sufficient for our fat burning goals. Our whole workout is completed in 15 minutes with 15 consecutive cycles.
It’s as simple as that. However, even though we’ll follow this basic pattern of alternating high intensity with recovery periods that doesn’t mean your exercise has to become boring. One of the great things about HIIT is its variety and variation.
You can apply this basic protocol to any kind of cardio vascular exercise. You can run, cycle, swim, row, skip, use circuit training, boxing, skating, dancing, and exercise outdoors or in the gym. You can vary the number of cycles You do, the length of each cycle, and as you get fitter you can bring down your recovery to work ratio to make sure you continue to see outstanding results.
Take action: Next time you do some cardiovascular exercise do some High Intensity Interval training. Your workout will take half the time, be vastly less boring, and take you one giant step closer to the slimmer, healthier person you desire.