Intervals Are the Answer


HAPPY FRIDAY!! If you are craving some fashion inspo, head over to Pretty Providence for my post today featuring leopard print a-line dresses and heels! However, if you want to know one of the BEST ways to burn fat, read on.

One of the questions that I am constantly asked is, “what is the best way to lose weight?”.  Now obviously the answer is far more complex than the question-you have to take several variables into account: what is their diet like, how does their body function, metabolism, athletic ability, genetics.  Every one is different, and what works for one person’s body may not work for another.  But there are some universal tricks of the trade, and one of those is high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Intervals are comprised of cardio workouts where you alternate high-intensity bursts with low-intensity periods of recovery-and they are KILLER for weight loss, burning way more calories than steady-rate cardio.  Even better, a 20 minute HIIT will burn way more than a steady-paced hour long run!

Why is HIIT so amazing for weight loss?  The secret to HIIT’s success is that it has the magical ability to keep your body burning fat long after you have left the gym.  Essentially, during the high intensity portions of the interval training your body becomes oxygen deprived because it is unable to bring in enough oxygen (yeah, that whole out of breath thing). Because your body was unable to get enough oxygen, you develop a “debt” of oxygen that has to be repaid after your workout for the body to return to status quo.  Thanks to this oxygen debt, your metabolism is revved for hours, burning burning burning.  The technical term for this phenomenon is EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).  Pretty amazing, right?

Per Men’s Fitness, “intense circuits also stimulate muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1 which sets up your body 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”-and if you are a runner and want to up your race pace, this is how to do it!

So, how do you do a HIIT session?  You can do HIIT on the treadmill, running outside, spinning, on the elliptical.  Even weights can be done in HIIT (but that’s for another post).  With interval training there is no “rule” as to how to vary the high intensity vs. rest periods, so you can play around and see what challenges you most.  Tabata protocol calls for 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest, but that is just one style of HIIT.  You just never want your recovery period to be so long that you feel like you are not out of breath or working hard.  I generally prefer to do 45 sec. of high intensity training with a one minute rest period.  For example, I love setting the treadmill at an 8 or 9 incline and usually a 9 speed, sprint on the incline at 9 for 45 seconds, then drop my speed to around a 6 and jog for 1 minute, and then repeat.  I generally do this for 20-30 mins. It is KILLER, I am always exhausted and breathless when I’m done (and bright red).   So, if you are really truly ready to burn some fat-these babies are a sure bet.  And just in case you need some cute workout clothing motivation…..