If your goal is to burn fat, intervals better be part of your program. Besides being a quick method to getting in a great workout, intervals are extremely effective for transforming your physique. By incorporating intense periods of work with short recovery segments, intervals allow you to keep the workout intensity high while still maintaining form. The magic of high intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) lies its ability to keep you burning fat even after you leave the gym. In short, your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen during periods of hard work. Therefore, you accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result — your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym. Trainers refer to this phenomena as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. The biggest way to use it to your advantage is to make short, intense exercise bouts a regular piece of your workout regimen.
Intense circuits also stimulate muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1. This puts your body in a perfect state to build lean mass. Along side the hormone response, interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By pushing your heart rate high during periods of work, you’ll increase your cardio ability and strengthen your heart. During the short rest intervals, you also increase your recovery capabilities meaning you’ll be able to recover faster in future workout sessions.
When creating interval workouts, focus on including difficult movements that challenge your entire body in a single exercise. Aim to include at least two exercises back to back before allowing your body to recover. Catch your breath in between rounds, but don’t allow yourself to recover fully before attacking the next set.
To jumpstart your routine, we’ve compiled a list of favorite interval workouts from our top trainers. Pick one or two to incorporate in your weekly routine. Include at least a day of rest in between workouts as these intervals are intense.
* The following workouts have been approved by the certified training staff of HUMANFITPROJECT.