Thomas Cothren of Maryland is a passionate fitness enthusiast who successfully lost over 100 pounds over the course of two years with diet and exercise. In the following article, Thomas Cothren discusses high intensity interval training, and why HIIT is such an efficient technique for weight loss.
One of the primary roadblocks facing those who wish to lose weight or simply improve their physique is the sheer difficulty of fitting a regular workout routine into their busy schedule. Could high intensity interval training (HIIT) provide the solution they need?
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that not only does HIIT provide a faster workout for those who lack time to spend an hour or two at the gym, but it also increases stamina while improving heart health and keeping the body looking and feeling younger. It’s also a highly versatile form of workout, adaptable to any equipment set as long as the workout itself is structured properly.
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that it almost sounds too good to be true. So, before getting into selecting and structuring the best HIIT workout routine, it’s worth a more exhaustive look at the many benefits it has to offer.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training
While most circuit training routines rotate between several high intensity exercises with short periods of rest in between, HIIT workouts rely on continuous movement while alternating between exercises of higher and lower intensity.
In as few as thirty minutes, Thomas Cothren of Maryland explains that interval participants can achieve at least 80% of their maximum heartrate while achieving a full-body workout that might traditionally take an hour or more. The numerous benefits of exercising in this fashion include:
- A condensed, time-saving exercise routine
- Increased stamina, strength and endurance over time
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improvements to HDL cholesterol levels
- Lower resting and systolic blood pressure
- Release of hormones that continue breaking down fat after the workout
- Reduced insulin resistance among type 2 diabetics
In addition to these benefits, Thomas Cothren of Maryland explains that interval training also proves to be highly versatile. The concept of alternating high and low intensity exercises can be applied across a wide range of exercises, relying on resistance from body weight alone or incorporating numerous types of equipment.
It Can Be Applied to Any Kind of Workout
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that many enjoy using HIIT for home workouts because it saves them the cost of gym memberships and equipment by allowing them to focus purely on calisthenics. They can target numerous muscle groups through a mix of various exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, side lunges, and more.
Those looking to incorporate an interval routine into their cardio schedule will find themselves able to achieve similar versatility. Whether on a track, treadmill, stationary bike or rotating staircase, devising an interval routine is as simple as alternating speed, intensity, elevation and/or resistance every 30-60 seconds across 8 or more cycles.
Weightlifters can utilize this technique as well, although there’s a greater need for safety precautions explains Thomas Cothren of Maryland. Those looking for continuous movement without brief periods of rest will want to alternate weight exercises with cardio. They should also start at lower weights before moving up, and should take a day off in between workouts.
Those looking to rest in between workouts can practice “every minute on the minute” HIIT, or EMOM. In this variation of HIIT, an individual decides on a certain number of reps per set for each exercise. Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that they begin at the beginning of every minute, then allow themselves the remaining seconds of that minute to rest before continuing.
How to Structure an HIIT Routine
Because HIIT is so adaptable, Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that many people can structure these routines in a number of ways. However, most will incorporate one of two basic methods, depending on the preferences and abilities of the individual in question. The first prioritizes longer periods of high intensity movement, while the second reduces high intensity intervals while making them more explosive.
Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that individuals practicing calisthenics or other repetition-based exercises will often perform each exercise in roughly 30-second intervals while trying to complete as many reps as they can. At the end of each interval, they’ll engage in low intensity activity such as slow, stationary cardio for intervals of just 15 seconds.
By contrast, Thomas Cothren of Maryland says that some prefer to ramp up intensity as they go. They may perform exercises such as sit-ups or push-ups at a normal pace for 20 seconds before doing only 10 seconds of truly explosive, high intensity repetitions. Between intervals, they may spend 15-30 seconds doing stationary exercises such as planks or wall sits.
Those first starting out may find either of these variations too unforgiving until accustomed to the practice. People with little exercise experience or health defects that make exercising difficult may replace lower intensity intervals with periods of rest ranging from 15-30 seconds depending upon their own personal limitations.
High intensity interval training accommodates a wide range of ages, body types, fitness levels and preferences in exercise styles. Those who wish to begin their own HIIT routine may do research to find one that works best for them, or merely use the above tips to personally structure a routine that targets the muscle groups they wish to strengthen most.