Last night I did my upper body weight workout for the first time in a couple of months. Whenever I go that long without doing a weight workout, the first time I lift again I get really sore. This morning, I am really sore – I can barely lift my arms above my head!
Today, since I am alternating between cardio and weights days, I am once again back to a cardio workout. Today I’ll be doing some interval training, or better known as high intensity interval training (HIIT). Here’s an explanation of what it is from Wikipedia:
Interval training is broadly defined as repetitions of high-speed/intensity work followed by periods of rest or low activity.
This training technique is often practiced by long distance runners (800 metres and above) although some sprinters are known to train using this technique as well.
Distance runners often practice intervals on tracks, running hard at a certain pace for a specified distance (or, less often, time) and jogging, walking, or resting between (for a set distance/time.) An example could be 12 repetitions of 400 meters with a 200-meter jog between each. Distances can also vary; one example would be a “ladder” workout consisting of a 1600-meter, two 1200-meter, three 800-meter, and four 400-meter repetitions, each at an appropriate speed and with an appropriate amount of recovery.
Interval training is a favorite of coaches because of its effectiveness in cardiovascular buildup and also its ability to make more well-rounded runners.
More generally, it can refer to any cardiovascular workout (e.g. stationary biking, running, rowing, etc.) that involves brief bouts at near-maximum exertion interspersed with periods of lower-intensity activity. One popular workout that incorporates this methodology is so-called “walk-back sprinting,” in which one sprints a short distance (anywhere from 100 to 800 meters), then changes directions and walks back to the starting point (the recovery period) to do it again. To add challenge to the workout, each of these sprints may start at a predetermined time interval, e.g. 200 meter sprint, walk back, and sprint again every 3 minutes. The time interval provides just enough recovery.
It is believed by many in the fitness industry that this method of training is more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration. This has been confirmed in at least two studies
As mentioned above, HIIT is an excellent way to maximize your workout if you are limited on time as I often am. I know it works from experience. Last year I lost almost 40 pounds using a combination of weight training and HIIT. Unfortunately I stopped doing it and I’ve gained 15 back. But now I’m back on course and looking to lose that last 25 or so pounds.
Wish me luck!