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HIIT It: The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
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HIIT It: The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

All of my clients have time issues. Whether it's family, work, or friends, everyone seems to have a crowd of concerns jockeying for their attention at every moment. Unfortunately, that means we tend to put our own health and well-being on the back burner.

Most of the people I know want to spend more time at the gym, but they don't think they have the time. For all of these people - clients, friends, and even family - I have one piece of advice: high-intensity interval training.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise program that promises dramatic results in significantly less time than most exercise plans. HIIT combines a moderate-intensity workout with short bursts of high-intensity exercise to spice up workouts and turbocharge weight loss.

I'm a big fan of HIIT exercise programs. After all, I've got a job and family to look after, and spending hours a week at the gym isn't something I'm always able to commit to. Luckily, HIIT can be done anywhere, and it works for any skill level. Whether you walk, run, bike, or even swim, interval training provides a host of benefits.

Here are just a few of the reasons you should incorporate high-intensity interval training into your workout routine:

  1. It's Quick. A high-intensity interval training workout can be super effective in just 15 minutes. If you have trouble finding time to work out, an HIIT exercise program may be just the ticket.
  2. It challenges your heart and lungs. HIIT workouts exercise your heart by pushing it to its fullest potential. Those bursts of intensity will be the hardest your heart has worked in a long time, and it will grow stronger as a result. Studies have shown that the HIIT exercise program improves cardiovascular fitness - both heart and lungs - by 13 percent.
  3. It banishes boredom and encourages concentration. You can't space out during this workout. Whether it's keeping track of how long until your next high-intensity interval or paying attention to how your body is responding to the increased levels of exertion, you'll be completely engaged for the full workout. You won't have time to be bored!
  4. It zaps fat and increases metabolism. A HIIT exercise program helps your body burn fat even after you've finished working out. One study found that people would did interval training increased the amount of fat burned after working out by 36 percent over those who did sustained cardio. Plus, HIIT exercise programs may spur the release of hormones that speed metabolism.

Whatever your fitness level, a high-intensity interval training exercise program can be tailored to your current fitness abilities and ultimate goals. If you haven't worked out in a while, walk at a brisk pace for your moderate-intensity workout, then kick it up to a power walk for your high-intensity interval. The key is taking whatever you're doing now to the next level.

Try substituting a HIIT exercise program for one of your trips to the gym this week. If you're just starting out with interval training, alternate between two minutes of moderate-intensity exercise and one minute of high-intensity exercise for 15 minutes. Make sure your heart is really pumping during the high-intensity intervals, and don't let your heart rate get back down to its resting rate until you're done.