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What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Amanda Rose, creator of Warrior Fight Club, shares her insight into the benefits of HIIT or high intensity interval training.

“Although my first love is yoga, I have been incorporating more cardio into my workouts,” says Amanda. “With a history of cardiovascular disease in my family, I understand and respect the need for a healthy heart.”

Considering that the #1 excuse people use for not exercising is lack of time, intervals are a perfect solution. It is quick, effective and to the point.

Interval training incorporates the body’s two energy systems: the aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy. When you run or walk for several miles, you are tapping into this system. The anaerobic system draws energy from fuel stored as glycogen in the muscles for short bursts of energy, such as sprinting. This system doesn’t utilize oxygen and cannot provide enough energy for a sustained effort.

sweat abs

Because intervals require both systems, interval training has lots of benefits:

1. Increase calorie burn: The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you burn! But interval training can also cause an “afterburn effect,” where the body burns more calories anywhere from 24 to 48 hours post-workout. So when you are relaxing on the couch, the furnace is still cooking. In addition, it boosts metabolism and builds lean muscle.

2. Improve cardio function: Intervals cause your heart and lungs to become bigger, stronger and able to adjust to sudden intense challenges (like running to catch a bus). Plus, it allows you to exercise longer and with more intensity, which improves your overall athletic performance.

3. Focus on fun: Because intervals are short you’re less likely to become bored. Intervals add a nice variety to traditional workouts, especially since you can vary the intensity level, length of work, rest intervals and number of reps. You can even opt to change the type of exercise by riding a bike, running on a treadmill or even jumping rope. The great thing about interval training is that there is no one way of doing it. Different lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits and challenges, all of which are good.

4. Lessen your time commitment: As I previously mentioned, you can do intervals in a short amount of time. My workouts average 20 to 23 minutes and I am completely spent! I have no excuse to not get it done and neither will you. AsOne’s Deck of Cards and Basic Circuit are particularly good and short as they are under 20 minutes each!

5. Improve your health: Interval training can improve insulin sensitivity, optimize cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure.

DISCLAIMER: Interval training is tough, so if you’re just starting to work out, spend at least one month working on your stamina with steady intensity cardio workouts before incorporating intervals into your routine.  Add these intervals in slowly and avoid repeating them on consecutive days. Intervals are hard on the body so give yourself ample rest and be sure to practice yoga too!

Booya features some amazing interval training workouts—check out our Bootcamps for guidance from the best trainers in the industry!