Steady-State Cardio (running, biking, walking for 30 – 60 min) or High Intensity Intervals (30 sec full out and 90 sec rest)…Which is best for fat loss and muscle gain? Data seems to state that both offer benefits, but in surprising ways. Steady-State Cardio won’t provide a big fat loss or muscle gain, but strengthens the heart, reduces stress (lowering cortisol levels) and improves recovery times when done consistently. Read on to learn the benefits of HIIT Training and Read our previous article “Exercise Makes You Smarter” to learn about the other benefits. 

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

How Do I Do a HIIT/ Burst/ Interval Training Workout? 

  1. Warm up for 2 – 3 minutes with some light dynamic stretching to prepare the body for the high intensity motion. cycling-class
  2. Exercise as hard and fast as you can (80% of your maximum heart rate) for 5 seconds to 8 minutes (we like the 30 second intervals). You want to get your heart rate up to your calculated maximum heart rate. A sign that you’re giving it enough effort is when you’re gasping for breath, couldn’t talk with a partner and feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds. You decide the exercise (common ones are running sprints, burpees, bike sprints, jumping jacks, squats, or even fast walking). 
  3. Recover and Rest between intervals. Rest for as long as you need to get your breathing and heart rate back down to normal. This can be anywhere from 10 seconds to 4 minutes and will not alter the effectiveness of the intervals. You can either just slow down your movements or stop completely. 
  4. Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery five to seven more times, for a total of six or eight repetitions, depending on your level of fitness. interval-timer At first go for a shorter time and less intervals because your muscles, lungs and heart need to adapt to the new routine. As your lungs get stronger, you can increase the duration – or you can just increase your intensity.  
  5. Cool down, move slowly and stretch for about three minutes or longer until your heart rate and breathing return to normal.

Cauliflower Momentexercising for hours at the gym doesn’t make us lose more fat and get healthier – it’s actually the shorter, more intense sessions that gives us these results.