With the surf, sand, and fun season quickly approaching, we are all searching for the magic pill or secret recipe to lose that muffin top and win the battle of the bulge. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for something that will expedite the weight loss in addition to the Ultra – Fat Burning Vitamin B shots every week. What if I told you that I’ve found something close to the perfect solution? Would you believe it? Well, believe it. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and it is a hit! Not only will HIIT allow you to lose weight more quickly, it will also slow down the aging process. I am now incorporating HITT to my exercise regimen.
The HIIT Workout: What It Is and Why It Works
HIIT is a type of cardiovascular work-out which switches between intense bursts of activity and set periods of less-intense activity. One example of a HIIT regimen which I recommend to my patients who may just be starting on an exercise routine is to walk 1 minute at a super-fast pace (almost to the point of breathless) and then walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes. This can also be accomplished with walking up hills and then hitting flat land. Repeat for 7-10 sets and you’ll have done a great 20-30 minute cardiovascular workout with your heart racing and blood pumping.
If you are a little more fit and want something more intense than walking, here are 3 Beginner and 3 advanced HIIT workouts that you can finish in under 30 minutes!
Beginner High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Routines Playlist (Menu at top left of video)
Advanced High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Routines Playlist (Menu at top left of video)
How High-Intensity Interval Training Helps Slow Down the Aging Process
A recent study (Enhanced Protein Translation Underlies Improved Metabolic and Physical Adaptations to Different Exercise Training Modes in Young and Old Humans) shows that HIIT works at the cellular level – in the mitochondria. Think of mitochondria as the work horses of your cells. They help our cells make more proteins to fuel energy. In fact, HIIT showed a bigger benefit in older adults than younger ones. Adults aged 65-80 who participated in HIIT showed a 69 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity compared to a 49 percent increase in the younger group aged 18-30. This 3-month study involved different types of exercise regimens with the HIIT regimen including 3 days per week of cycling with high-intensity bursts of energy alternating with slower pedaling and two days a week of moderately difficult treadmill walking.
I’m incorporating HIIT into my workouts. In spin class, we do a set of 8 tabatas – each tabata is a 30-second interval with 20-second high power, breathless pedaling followed by a 10-second recovery period. Sometimes, my instructor is merciless and we do 16 sets! Yes, that’s over 8 minutes of HITT- kicks my gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and quadriceps for sure!
5 Benefits and Reasons to do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- It’s incredibly efficient – A study in the American College of Sports Medicine found that 2 weeks of HITT improved your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. Who wouldn’t want those kind of results?
- Its’ easy to do. You don’t need any special equipment or gym memberships. You can work out in your yard or walk around your neighborhood and accomplish the same thing. Of course, if you’re paying for a gym membership, please use it. At my gym, Equinox in La Costa, I like the rowing machine, endurance spin class and tabata class.
- You’ll burn more fat. By encouraging your body to go into overdrive – the breathless state – you will be kick-starting your body’s repair cycle. The mitochondria will work their magic by producing more proteins and rev up your metabolic rate. Even after you finish your work-out, your body will still be recovering – helping you burn fat and lose weight.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH) will increase…naturally! Many patients ask me if they should take HGH. I say “No” and recommend that they do it naturally by incorporating HITT into your weekly exercise program. Studies have shown that HIIT can stimulate your body’s production of HGH by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after finishing your work-out. This is especially important for those of us who are trying to lose weight because HGH increases the number of calories burned and works to slow down the aging process.
- It will truly kick your gluteus maximus. No, you can’t be sitting on the bike reading a magazine or talking to your friend on treadmill. HIIT requires your entire attention and energy. Due to the anaerobic intervals, your heart rate will reach a maximum and you’ll be gulping for air. These short spurts of peak effort for a short period of time followed by a brief recovery will produce fast results and challenge you to the core!
What are you waiting for? Put on your walking/running shoes and get outside. Or put on your spin shoes and hit class. Either way you’ll be happy you did it!
In health and happiness,