For years, overweight individuals thought they had to workout for 45 minutes or an hour at a time, at least three times a week, in order to shed fat. They were focused on the quantity of exercise, not the quality, and were often frustrated because those pounds stubbornly remained. Many people still believe they have to work longer to lose weight and become strong, but that isn’t true. Quality of exercise is far more important than how long you work for. High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is an example of effective activity in a short time.
Two benefits of this program for reluctantly active individuals are that you only need 20 to 30 minutes and you don’t get bored, thanks to the intervals. Participants are challenged to complete a set of repetitions which takes them thirty seconds or a minute, cool down for a few seconds then tackle the next move. The pace is fast and exercises cover the whole body. One move will concentrate on arms, another on legs, but different parts of the arms and legs. You could be exercising back muscles, butt muscles, or even completing short bursts of cardio.
No One Program
Beach Body, the Crunch series, and various gyms or celebrities have undertaken the challenge of guiding home-based consumers through these types of movements. They follow a system at home which might come with a meal program and bonuses like abdominal workouts or yoga.
A number of programs feature weights but others encourage clients to use their own body weight. HIIT workouts don’t generally require a lot of props; just space and plenty of energy. After all, it’s not called “High Intensity” for nothing. Participants are expected to give their all during each move.
This is somewhat similar to the Toned in Ten program we’ve been talking about here on the site…
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High Intensity Interval Training has proven successful for fitness and weight loss even among people who only wish to lose a little bit of flab, tone up for the beach, or want to look nice in skinny jeans. They aren’t necessarily overweight, but HIIT gets them over the last plateau where they can’t seem to shed whatever is left. These are otherwise healthy people and they would look great, but want to look better. Obese individuals scale down the moves to their level.
This type of training does something special to your metabolism. Your body will learn to get used to routine movements if you do them long enough. That goes for a routine for the next 45 minutes or one you follow every day for years. The metabolism gets bored and sluggish and you stop burning fat. Your BMI stays the same until your body goes through a phase where it starts to burn less fat, such as during your late thirties or early forties. That’s when you really need to ramp up your effort.
The trouble with running is that your body gets into a rhythm; your metabolism doesn’t face any surprises. When you switch to a walk-run routine or change from flat routes to ones which go up and down, you see your body respond by burning more fat. The same goes for HIIT where the constant change of motion keeps the metabolic system guessing.