Hooray for High Intensity Interval Training

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For some of people, the gym is a form a therapy, an emotional outlet. For others, it’s a hateful obligation. Some people go to the gym to lose weight and feel comfortable in their bodies; others go because they want to tone their muscles. Whatever the reason, going to the gym can sometimes become a tedious task. Treadmills and elliptical machines are the most sought-after for a good cardio workout, but sometimes, they can be the most boring. In reality, they are the most flexible ones. Whether you’re a beginner at cardio or a full time heart pumper, it can be hard to have fun while also burning calories. If you want to burn mega-calories and mix up your treadmill or elliptical routine all you have to do is give HIIT workouts a try. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a method of training that involves intense cardio exercises and short recovery periods. Because it is high intensity, your heart rate increases and you burn more calories. While it might seem like an impossible task, the good news is that most HIIT workout routines are quick, they don’t require any equipment (unless you want to spice it up with a treadmill or elliptical – but they aren’t really necessary to get the effect), and they are metabolic (which means that your metabolism increases).

But how do you apply this workout technique in a machine? The fun fact about treadmills and elliptical machines is that they have resistance settings. In a treadmill, you can change the incline; 0 is flat and 10 is nearly vertical. On an elliptical, there are resistance levels; 1 is low, allowing you to move fast; 15 is impossible to move. To begin a HIIT workout on a treadmill or elliptical, start off with a 5 minute warm up (take it easy, nothing too challenging!) The elliptical and the treadmill differ a little on the next steps; so let’s begin with the treadmill. On the treadmill turn up the speed to 4.0 and push the incline up to 3.0 for two minutes, and then turn up the incline to 7.0 and keep running at 4.0. The next minute (9:00-10:00) run at a 6.0 with a 1.0 incline. From minute 10 to 11 drop down to a walk of 3.5 and an incline of 2.0 (this is your recovery, drink water, breathe, give yourself a pep-talk). Repeat this for the next 19 minutes, and when the timer hits 30:00 know that you gave 110% because interval training is no walk in the park. And voila! 30 minutes of incline walking mixed with running intervals.

If you hate running but want to experiment with the elliptical, follow these steps. Method number one is as follows: After a 5-minute warm-up, turn your resistance up to 10.0 for 2 minutes. Every two minutes up to minute 11:00 turn up the resistance by two. Then, repeat until the timer reaches 20 minutes. For your last 5 minutes, return to your warm up resistance number of 8.0. Method number two is called a Pyramid Interval workout: Warm up like in method number one. Every two minutes increase the resistance by two. When you reach minute 15 repeat the same resistance level and begin to slowly descend by 2 resistance levels every two minutes. In the last 5 minutes, cool down with a low resistance level.

The purpose of these exercises is to bring yourself to your highest tolerance level and then start to slowly decrease all the way down to a cool down. You maximize your workout time, burn from 300-500 calories, and increase your metabolism. It’s a package deal. If you’re looking to lose weight and get fit fast, HIIT workout techniques are probably one of the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient ways of shedding off the weight.

LivingEsther BlancoHIIT