Interval training is a scientifically proven way to train your body to burn more calories in and out of the gym. It works by integrating high-intensity intervals into your workout. By raising your capacity to withstand and draw out the higher intensity segments of your workout, you will increase your body’s ability to process calories, thereby increasing your overall metabolism. The best part is that these workouts are more effective than longer aerobic regimens and take less time.
The Training Routine
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) incorporates short periods of concentrated, high-intensity bursts separated by medium intensity exercise. So, instead of doing a long, steady jog at 6 miles per hour, you would jog for, say, 60 seconds and then run at maximum capacity for 30 seconds. Ideally, this would be repeated for eight cycles (a total of twelve minutes). However, as you become more accustomed to this method of training, these intervals can be stretched in order to provide maximum results. The point is to make sure that when you do hit a high-intensity interval, you are exercising with maximum effort. Pushing yourself in this regard will increase your resilience to move to the next level.
Scientists aren’t 100% sure why this method is so effective, but various studies done over the past several years have shown that 2.5 hours of HIIT has the equivalent biochemical effect on your body as 10.5 hours of endurance-based training. It was thought that since it takes 30 minutes of aerobic activity for your body to begin burning fat, that such a method wouldn’t be effective. However, scientists have speculated that the increase in oxygen consumption following the high-intensity workouts naturally increases your resting metabolic rate, which, in turn, allows you to burn more calories as a direct result of your workout. So, HIIT will increase metabolism even outside the realm of the gym, even when you’re at home resting.
Circuit training combines the philosophy of HIIT with a more resistance-based model. For this method, you would set up a series of stations (a sit-up station, a push-up station, a curl station) and move quickly from station to station until you’ve completed a circuit (ie, you’ve completed all the stations) and then repeating the process. This method provides similar results as HIIT in that it provides short bursts of high-intensity exercise in order to raise metabolism. However, it provides a wider variety of intervals, which provides for a more complete workout. One circuit could work all major muscles groups. The variety can also provide a remedy to the boredom that accompanies all routine-based exercises (like jogging or using the elliptical). You can also set up stations without having to use much equipment, which means you can perform circuits right in your own home.
Since these methods do require strong bursts that result in heavy breathing and strain, it is essential that you don’t overdo it. You should definitely check with your doctor to make sure that this approach is appropriate given your current health condition.