Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: HIIT It, Don’t Quit It

Are you bored with your cardio routine?  You may want to try HIIT training.  HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and recent studies are promising.  You may think that this type of workout is only for the young and fit but surprisingly anyone can benefit from a little HIIT.  The key is in how you perform it.  An athlete’s version of HIIT is going to be quite different than a weekend warrior’s, but each will experience benefits in things like aerobic capacity, blood sugar regulation, and overall physical fitness.  Curious about how you can add HIIT training to your routine?  Read on for a few ways to implement this valuable training method into your life:

-Try some Tabata: Tabata training, named after Dr. Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Sports and Fitness in Tokyo, consists of 20 seconds of all out intensity followed by 10 seconds rest.  Typically this is repeated 8 times through for a total of 4 minutes, although sometimes I like to split a set between two different exercises (a preferable modification for beginners).  Physical benefits include improved reaction time, as well as increased muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

-Know your ideal heart rate zone:  Ideally you want to work at 80% of your heart rate max during a HIIT interval.  To get your max, take 220 and subtract your age, and aim for 80% of that number.

-Work up to it:  If you are used to steady state cardio,  HIIT training can be intimidating.  Start by adding just a bit of interval training to your usual routine to get used to the feeling of all out effort.  You might start with a few 30 second bouts and gradually intersperse them throughout your workout, until you are 100% HIIT training.

Need more ideas on how to mix up your fitness routine?  Visit The Joyful Gym Rat on Facebook and Twitter!

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T, pausing after an all out sprint