Health & Fitness

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – The Simple Explanation

on September 25, 2014

We’ve all had the experience of running for a bus or train. We make it, phew! We get a seat (well if your really lucky), sit down and begin gasping for air. Ever thought ‘why is that? Maybe you started some kind of internal chatter that went something like, ‘blimey I’m so unfit I must go for a 2 hour run/cycle tonight’

Well relax, this article is here to let you know, your definitely human and your perfectly normal. Sit back and let us explain how a 2-hour run/cycle is NOT the best way to help you lose weight, retain muscle or get fitter.

How would you feel about that 2 hour run or cycle if we told you that an alternative HIIT workout could take between 4 and 30 minutes depending on which High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program you use? Amazing eh? Who couldn’t do with another free hour and a half?

Let us explain, HIIT consists of short bursts of high intensity exercises, followed by shorter periods of recovery or complete rest. Participants are encouraged to perform the exercises with the best technique they can maintain and to go ‘all out’. These programs produce much the same effect as running for that bus or train, i.e. grasping for breath and fatigue.

Works a bit like this: The effects are caused by a system in your body called Excess Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Breathing continues normally until you burst into a more explosive or intense movement pattern and so your body requires more oxygen to fuel the muscles. As the cardio vascular system (heart & lungs) struggles to keep up with the oxygen demand, the muscles start to burn. While all this is happening the body’s essential systems still require oxygen to continue, and this all creates an oxygen deficit.

At the end of your HIIT workout your body has to make a huge effort to pay back the oxygen deficit that was created and this takes a lot of energy (calories – YES!). The pay back phase after your workout is over is what sets your metabolism and fat burning systems on fire. It is also why you can continue to burn calories upto 12 hours after your finish your HIIT workout.

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