The Answer to Losing the Last 10 Pounds: High Intensity Interval Training
It’s one of the most common fitness hurdles that women have trouble leaping over: the final 10 pounds of weight loss. Extremely frustrating, the last 10 pounds of weight you intend to lose will always give you the most trouble. As a woman, your body is programmed to cling desperately to body fat. This has everything to do with needing that body fat for having children. Unfortunately, your genetic programming didn’t take into consideration that you need to look amazing in a bikini. With that said, there is one amazing exercise technique that has been scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to blast body fat away. It’s safe, it’s effective, and you can do it anywhere.
Introducing High Intensity Interval Training. Let’s take a look at what H.I.I.T. is and how you can use it to achieve your fitness goals.
What is H.I.I.T.?
As I’ll discuss more about below, High Intensity Interval Training or H.I.I.T. is one of the best ways to simultaneously improve strength while incinerating body fat and promoting lean muscle mass gains. H.I.I.T. is a highly effective method of strength and cardiovascular exercise. As the name suggests, H.I.I.T. focuses on exercises that are high in intensity yet easy to perform. Volume, or weight, is not needed as the intensity is so high. One of the best features of H.I.I.T. that sets it apart from other forms of training is that it is extremely time efficient. A basic H.I.I.T. workout will only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete!
High Intensity vs Low Intensity
The traditional thought of low intensity, long duration exercise can be seen throughout every gym in America: Lines of treadmills and exercise bikes and people moving at a slow and steady pace for about an hour. People still think that it’s best to hop on a treadmill, set it at a comfortable pace, and walk for an hour each and every day. While this may be an acceptable way to exercise if you are recovering from an injury, have severe medical weight issues, or are being more cautious at an older age, for the majority of people, low intensity, long duration exercise is inconvenient and ineffective. Research shows the superiority of high intensity, short duration exercise against its predecessor in muscle building and fat loss.
Why is H.I.I.T. so effective? High intensity training activates two different kinds of energy pathways. There is the anaerobic system and there is the aerobic system.
Anaerobic energy is for fast, power-focused movements. For example, if you are sprinting on a track and field, your body will use the anaerobic energy system. The aerobic energy system, on the other hand, is for long duration exercise. Take the same person from the example above and imagine they are running a 10 kilometer race. That person’s body would be primarily using the aerobic energy pathway. High Intensity Interval Training has been shown in research studies to activate both types of energy pathways while low intensity, long duration training only activates the aerobic system.
Put simply, by utilizing both energy systems, your body is able to burn more fat, expend more calories, and trigger greater increases in strength and muscle.
Benefits of H.I.I.T.
The benefits of High Intensity Interval Training become immediately apparent once you try it. The key to the success of H.I.I.T. has everything to do with the variety of movement. A specific combination of exercises takes your body through all planes of movement at different intensity levels. In other words, your body is kept guessing for the entire workout.
One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism demonstrated how effective High Intensity Interval Training was at burning more fat and supporting more lean tissue growth when compared with Low Intensity Long Duration training. One of the highlights of the study showed the increased metabolic profile for subjects who performed H.I.I.T. on a regular basis. These people saw an extended caloric burning period when compared with those who relied on low intensity training. In other words, their bodies kept burning calories and fat at a higher rate for hours after their workout!
Breakdown of a H.I.I.T. Workout
You’re convinced and ready to jump into action so let’s breakdown how a basic High Intensity Interval Training workout is set up.
H.I.I.T. workouts are made up of circuits. One circuit will contain between 4 and 10 exercises. The most common form of exercise in a H.I.I.T. circuit is bodyweight based. Once you have your list, you perform each exercise once then move on to the next one with no rest in between. It is only after you’ve completed each exercise one time that you’re able to take that much needed break. Rest up for between 1 and 3 minutes before you begin the entire list again. Repeat the circuit at least once, gradually moving up to 4, 5, or even 6 times!
How You Can Incorporate H.I.I.T. into Your Day
Since a H.I.I.T. circuit will only take you 10 minutes or less, it is best to schedule it for a time when you won’t have anything else bothering you. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual and do it before the kids get up. Bring a pair of gym clothes to work and spend 10 minutes of your lunch outside. A H.I.I.T. workout can be done anywhere. You just need to find 10 minutes to do it!
The following is a terrific sample workout for beginners. It’s very easy and uses the most basic yet effective exercises. Remember, perform the first exercise all the way through then move right on to the second one. Repeat this rapid fire fashion until you have completed all of the exercises.
· Burpees: 5
· Bodyweight Squats: 25
· Pull-ups: 5
· Side Lunges: 25
· (Knee) Push-ups: 15
· Jump Squats: 15
· Rest period: 1 to 3 minutes
· Repeat: At least once
Losing those last 10 pounds doesn’t have to be a battle that takes weeks or months. If you’ve been struggling to blast away the last of your weight loss, then look to High Intensity Interval Training to ensure you reach your goal. Proven by scientific studies to result in a higher level of weight loss and muscle building, a H.I.I.T. workout is amazingly effective and time efficient. There’s no reason to wait any longer. Give H.I.I.T. a try and let us know about the results!
1. Perry CG, Heigenhauser GJ, Bonen A, Spriet LL. High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Dec;33(6):1112-23.