What Is A High Intensity Workout?
One of biggest trends in fitness these days is the ‘high intensity workout’, also called ‘high intensity interval training’ or ‘HIIT’. While this might sound like something for professional athletes and gym junkies, high intensity workouts can help even fitness newbies achieve better results in less time.
What A High Intensity Workout Is – And Isn’t
While the name might sound a bit intimidating, a HIIT workout is simply a series of exercises that are done at a pace that’s quick enough to really challenge your cardiovascular system. This means doing quick bursts of intense movements that cause your heart rate to rise, then taking short breaks (known as recovery periods).
By doing exercises that cause your heart rate to elevate, you’ll burn lots of calories while helping to improve your heart health in a relatively short amount of time. The recovery periods give your body a chance to recoup oxygen in preparation for the next challenge.
It’s this fast pattern of rest and exertion that leads to more efficient fat burning, even long after you’ve left the gym. Experts estimate that the metabolic rates of people who do HIIT-style workouts stay elevated for anywhere from 12 to 36 hours afterwards – that means your body will burn more calories than it normally does, even when you’re at rest!
A high intensity workout isn’t about pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, or exercising for hours on end. During a HIIT workout, you’ll typically alternate between 1-2 minutes of maximum effort and about 30-60 seconds of recovery such as walking slowly. This is normally repeated for anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on your current health and fitness goals.
Examples of High Intensity Workouts
A quick example of a HIIT-style routine is this:
- March on the spot for 30 seconds
- Do 10 body-weight squats
- March on the spot again for 30 seconds
- Perform walking lunges for 1 minute
- Take a 30 second recovery break by walking slowly
You can integrate virtually any type of exercise into a HIIT workout – weight lifting, using treadmills or elliptical trainers, or even simply walking around the block by alternating quick bursts of speed with regular rest periods. Just be sure not to compromise good form for speed, otherwise, you could wind up injuring yourself.
Monitor Your Heart Rate
It’s important to remember to monitor your heart rate throughout your exercise program to make sure you’re not over-exerting yourself – a wearable, chest strap-style heart rate monitor can come in handy for this. If your heart rate is too low you won’t achieve the fat-burning benefits, while getting your heart rate too high can cause dangerous levels of lactic acid in your body.
Start by consulting with your doctor to be sure it’s safe for you to workout, then calculate your target heart rate using an online heart rate calculator tool to see what your rate should be at during your HIIT workout.
By learning how to do a high intensity workout, you can amp up your metabolic rate while improving your overall health and wellness! To learn more about why exercising before and after weight loss surgery is key to your long-term success, contact us here at Olde Del Mar Surgical.