Half Your Workout, Double Your Results!
You’ve likely heard me mention a million times before, I’ve been there.
As a non-gym person entering a gym, I was surgically attached to the treadmill.
And although I finally ventured further out, I still have a soft spot for it.
If you’re not quite ready to leave your beloved treadmill, but want to turn it up a notch this is perfect for you.
How To Burn Fat Faster!
So just how exactly can you get twice as much from your workouts in half the time?
Simple, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT is a form of training where you alternate between short bursts of high intensity training coupled with short periods of recovery. Depending on the particular protocol, the intensity, and the work to rest ratio, HIIT is generally done for anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes.
Training in this fashion has been shown to be effective at not only reducing abdominal, trunk and visceral fat but it has also been shown to increase your fat-free mass and improve aerobic power1.
This happens due to a number of reasons including the fact that Intervals boost HGH (Humane Growth Hormone) – often referred to as the “Fitness Hormone”2 and also EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which results in more calories being burned as a result of HIIT than a standard session of steady-state cardiovascular training3.
You see, during interval training, the idea is to significantly increase your body’s need for oxygen during the work part of the interval. You’ll then rest for a short period before repeating the ‘work’ portion of the interval.
If the ‘work’ portion is intense enough and the rest is short enough, this creates and oxygen shortage in the body.
With each Interval you perform, this oxygen shortage increases slightly.
This is what causes EPOC – also known as the ‘afterburn’ effect – and results in increased calorie expenditure potentially for upto 48 hours after you’ve finished your training session.
As you can imagine incorporating 2 HIIT sessions a week into your training programme can boost your fat loss significantly.
And if burning extra body fat isn’t enough, HIIT also helps to maintain muscle, and improves strength and stamina.
This is so simple yet so effective.
In fact, studies have even shown that it’s loaded with other health benefits including improved Heart health and improved Insulin Sensitivity4.
So which HIIT protocol should I start with?
To be honest, almost all HIIT training can be effective providing it’s tailored to your specific training level.
When I first started doing Intervals I began with a short but effective form of Treadmill Hill Sprints and if you’re just starting out too, I recommend you do the same or similar.
I simply ran for 10 seconds (yes seconds) on a faster speed than your usual slog, at a gradient of about 15.0. I then hopped off to rest for 20 seconds before jumping back on and repeating for another 10 second run followed by another 20 second rest.
I repeated this cycle for a total of 10 minutes so set the clock on the treadmill to show your duration.
In total you will do a 20 seconds of running per minute, so total running time is only 3 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s it!
Don’t forget to warm up first though. Don’t just hop on a Treadmill and blast out a ton of intervals without warming up properly first.
Everyone’s different so I can’t tell you exactly what heart rate to get to but ideally you need to work up a light sweat. Gradually build speed and gradient so you’re nicely warmed up. It should take between 5 and 10 minutes.
NOTE: You will be jumping on then off the treadmill for your rest periods, so first we need to learn how to do this safely. You may have to practice this at a slower pace first. You will need to keep a tight schedule, so it’s easier to start your first interval at the beginning of a minute. You’ll run for 10 seconds. Then when it’s time to rest, grab the safety side rails of the treadmill whilst you’re still running and as you take your next stride, rather than place your foot back on the conveyor belt, you will instead step onto the side of the Treadmill base and the place your opposite foot on the other side of the Treadmill base. Basically, so that your feet are either side of the moving belt.
You’ll then take your 20 second rest.
As you come to the end of your 20 seconds, grab the safety rails again and step back on to do your next 10 second run. REMEMBER, THE TREADMILL IS MOVING so you’ll have to break into your stride quickly. Then at the end of your 10 seconds, repeat the process above until your session is complete.
This may sound a little dangerous but it’s actually very simple and quite easy once you get the hang of it. That’s why I recommend you start off by practicing at low speeds and gradually build yourself up over a couple of sessions.
If you’re not sure what I mean by jumping on and off whilst the belt is moving, check out the video below.
One note to mention, in the Video I am running at a speed of 10.0 rather than the 8.0 I recommend for beginners. Just thought I’d mention that in case you felt as though you were moving slower than I appeared to be going. 🙂
You should find that although it’s not that bad to begin with, the closer to the end of the intervals you get, the harder it gets. You should be breathing quite heavily 7-8 minutes onwards. If not you could be running at too slow a pace and will need to increase your speed next session.
Once you’ve finished, don’t forget to warm down and stretch. You’ve just completed a (uphill) sprint session.
This is the beginner’s protocol that I started with at a pace of around 8.0mph and gradient of 15.0.
The following week I did 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off, before working my way up to 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off, and of course increasing the speed when I felt ready.
Occasionally for variation I lower the gradient and increase the speed.
This is a form of High Intensity Interval Training is hugely beneficial for you and as I mentioned before, there are many variations.
Some people opt for maximal output, some opt for longer work times and longer rest, and some just reduce the work so that they need less rest. As long as you’re alternating between high intensity and either low intensity or a short rest period, your HIIT training.
For me, this is one of my favourite types of training.
Because you work on such a tight timescale, you’ll automatically fall into the ‘zone’. It’ll be the quickest 10 minutes you spend in the gym – No time to hesitate, doubt yourself or get bored.
One thing I will mention though is that if you’re a complete beginner or you’ve been inactive for a while, I strongly advise not to over do it and gradually increase your level of intensity. If you’ve not been active for a while your body may not be conditioned enough to cope with high demands for long periods, this could result in injury or over exertion.
Find a starting point, and improve upon it.
You’ll be impressed by how effective this type of training can be and how quickly you will progress.
You can also use this approach on other Cardiovascular Training Machines such as the bike, or a rowing machine (my favourite).
However, if you are a complete gym newbie I recommend you only do this type of training twice a week.
As it is supposed to be high intensity and you need to rest.
If you do decide to use this type of training more than twice in a week, always leave a day between sessions for recovery.
Go on, give it a try, and let us know how you got on – the only thing you’ve got to lose is 30-40 minutes off your cardio session!
- M. Heydari, J. Freund, and S. H. Boutcher, “The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2012, Article ID 480467, 8 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/480467
- PubMed. 2012. Acute high-intensity interval exercise reduces the postprandial glucose response and prevalence of hyperglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22268455.
- Little, J. P.; Safdar, A.; Wilkin, G. P.; Tarnopolsky, M. A.; Gibala, M. J. (2010). “A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: Potential mechanisms”. The Journal of Physiology 588 (6): 1011–22. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743. PMC 2849965. PMID 20100740.
Trackback from your site.