Focus on Fitness: HIIT training hits the spot

Karen Cuevas/For Steamboat Today

According to The American College of Sports Medicine, high intensity interval training was one of the top 20 fitness trends worldwide and it still seems to be making its mark. High intensity interval training, also known at HIIT, consists of intense bursts of exercise followed by brief periods of recovery.

The goal of high intensity interval training is to burn major calories in a short amount of time and help elevate metabolism for several hours post-workout due to the work it takes for the body to get back to its resting metabolic rate.

High intensity interval training should be kept to a maximum of two to three times a week with at least a day off in-between for recovery.

During the phase of intense bursts of cardio, the heart rate should rise, and it should be difficult to speak a sentence due to the body’s demand for oxygen involving the need to inhale and exhale. The recovery phase should consist of a heart rate that is declining and an opportunity to “catch your breath” before another intense interval begins.

Following are some tips for implementing an HIIT routine:

• Warming up is always recommended before HIIT.

• Select any type of aerobic exercise. For one minute, work at an intensity that is high for your personal fitness level.

• For the next thirty seconds to one minute, slow your pace down. 
The goal is to get your heart rate down and your breathing to slow slightly.

• Move right in to another intense interval for one minute and follow this routine until you have completed at least 20 to 30 minutes minimum or a maximum of 60 minutes.

• Once completed, give yourself adequate time to cool down and stretch afterward.

If you’re a beginner, you should move at a challenging pace for your fitness level, such as walking at a fast pace and a slight incline on a treadmill for 30 seconds. For the recovery phase, reduce the incline and slow your pace for one minute. Rotate the intense phase and recovery phase and repeat until you have completed 20 to 30 minutes.

Karen Cuevas is a member of the Fitness Team at Old Town Hot Springs. She is an NASM certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist and corrective exercise specialist.

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