3 Oct

Interval training has multiple functions depending on what you are trying to accomplish, such as improving V02 max, speed, or increasing energy expenditure. Interval training is a combination of intense and moderate periods of exercise. By utilizing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) someone can improve glucose metabolism and fat burning, HIIT is also great for performing large amounts of exercise in a short period of time.

The rational behind this is that you are engaging in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, recruiting both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. This causes muscles to adapt by enhancing fat oxidation and improving glucose tolerance.

Things to consider when planning a HIIT session:

  • Length of the work interval (distance to be covered during the work effort)
  • Intensity of the effort (monitor using heart rate)
  • Duration of the rest interval (should be at least as long as the work interval)
  • Number of interval sets (the number of work efforts performed as a unit)
  • The number of work repetitions (the number of work intervals with in one set i.e. 3 x 400 meters is one set and you do this 5 times)

Do a 10 second heart rate count upon completion of the work interval. 10 second heart rate count x 6 = heart rate/minute. During interval training heart rate should reach 85-100% maximal heart rate. Also heart rate should drop about 120 beats/min near the end of the rest interval.

In untrained athletes it is best to start with a work:rest ratio of 1:3 or 1:2 and work your way up to 1:1.

Sample treadmill workout using 1:2 ratio

Warm up: 10 minute jog

Work interval 30 seconds-fast paced run/sprint

Rest interval 1 minute-moderate to fast paced walk

That represents 1 set. Repeat this 10-15 more times, 11-16 total repetitions.

Cool down 5 minute jog/walk

HIIT is a great way to burn calories and increase your athletic performance.  Add it to your routine 2 days/wk, start slow and work your way up to 1:1 ratio.

HIIT can be done in the gym or outside; you can swim, bike, run, lift weights, or circuit train and incorporate HIIT principles to achieve your desired results.

*Remember to refuel with complex carbohydrates and protein to replenish and repair those hard working muscles!

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