HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. What I mean by that is you train with high intensity for short amount of time then you go into low intensity or rest for short period. After small interval of rest period you again go into high intensity training and you switch back and forth during whole workout session.
Why HIIT cardio is more preferable than Steady State Cardio?
In steady state cardio, you will have to spend a lot of time whereas in HIIT it is quick and simple. You don’t need to walk on treadmill for hours to get into shape. What makes HIIT an ultimate weapon is its ability to destroy fat even after you have finished your workout without much muscle loss unlike steady state cardio which only burns fat during the duration of exercise. And yes, with the risk of more muscle loss. Just think for yourself, how a marathon runner looks and how a sprinter look? I don’t mean to bodyshame anyone here but there is no denial in the fact that Sprinter is more shredded and with more muscle mass.
Science of HIIT cardio
In this type of cardio, you not only use glucose from your glycogen stores but also burns stored body fat. At high intensity, your body is in its optimal condition to burn fat as your heartbeat would be around approx. 80% of its maximum for most of the time period. And how did I forgot to mention about the after-burn effect EPOC. EPOC stands for Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This afterburn effect stays like that of heavy weight training from 24 to 48 hours of training. Literally, just imagine yourself sitting on sofa and burning fat like a Boss. Your metabolism will be sky high baby!!
When you go through these sessions, your body needs recovery and so more oxygen. I am trying to put things as simple as possible. So, in recovery period you exhale and inhale and in that process, fat burns. So have a recovery period of atleast 24 hours before going into another session otherwise chances are it will adversely affect your body then.
What worked for me is that I performed these HIIT sessions after my weight training sessions. The reason is that during weight training, I deplete my glycogen stores. So, during HIIT session to get more energy the only source available was the stored fat in body. I know what you are thinking right now! Does this condition doesn’t cause muscle loss? No, because you would be having a balanced protein intake which keeps you in positive Nitrogen Balance and hence keeps muscle loss at bay.
Make sure you switch things once in a while or your body will get accustomed and trust me, nothing grows in the comfort zone. And this goes without any mention that your Nutrition should be on point to use this ultimate weapon.
Here is What Worked For Me
1- 20 secs of high intensity cycling on Stationary bicycle. This bicycle is there in most of the gyms.
2- Followed by 20 sec low intensity or slow cycling. Just provide only that much energy in this state that only pedal turns.
3- Then repeat it for 10 to 15 or even 20 rounds.
To give it a progression, you can increase the high intensity period from 20 to 30 secs or decrease rest period from 20 to 10 secs or both.
To give it variations, you can also include various of other exercises like High Intensity Skipping Ropes, Burpees with push-ups , Jumping, Rowing.
In my recommendation, your sessions should not take more than 10 mins. And if it does then you are not performing in high intensity. You should be completely drained in 10 mins. You can do it regularly but only after 24 hours of rest. Overdoing is not the solution here. And yes, you can do it empty stomach too.
You can do HIIT with alternate days with Steady State Cardio, that will keep your metabolism high and avoid injuries too. Or like me, 5 days a week. It’s completely upto you.
Now a Bonus routine that I promise if you performed correctly will make you break a sweat-
1- 20 burpees.
2- Followed by 15 secs of high intensity bicycling.
3- 20 bodyweight squats.
4- Followed by Rest period of 20 secs.
5- Try and repeat whole process for 10 mins.
So, guys and girls try this out. And I hope this helps you. Any queries? Shoot them in comments section. Want an article on any specific topic? Just mention it in the comments.