by Amy Kessler, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
As a marathon runner, Tabata instructor and fitness enthusiast, I believe strongly in the importance of a good cardio workout. The human body is made up of hundreds of different muscles—and out of all those muscles, the most important one to strengthen is your heart. This is the only muscle that never gets to rest and is always working to keep you alive.
It’s a well-known fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. According to the surgeon general, we should be getting 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, such as running or cardio-based group exercise classes.
Most of us find comfort in spending 20 to 30 minutes on our favorite treadmill or elliptical and are often hesitant to change our cardio routines. A question that often arises on the fitness floor is: "What exactly is HIIT (high intensity interval training), and how can I add this training style to my exercise routine?"
HIIT consists of short bursts of anaerobic exercise paired with a less intense exercise for recovery.
Intense exercises will be at 80-95% of the participant’s estimated max heart rate. Recovery exercises will be at 40-50% of the participant’s max heart rate. For example, you could perform 30 seconds of burpees followed by 30 seconds of bicep curls, and repeat this combination for eight reps without rest.
This training style has grown very popular because the workouts are an efficient way to improve your cardiovascular health and lose weight without losing muscle. By challenging your heart above your target heart rate zone, you will increase the total calorie burn during exercise—and your body will continue to burn calories for up to 24 hours post-workout. Others notice an improvement in cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity, which helps your muscles use glucose for fuel to make energy, plus an increased metabolism.
Join us this summer for a variety of classes we offer using the HIIT Principle. Look for Shockwave and Cardio & Core Tabata on our Group Exercise schedule, as well as other training programs like Zone Training and Team Training. Hope to see you there and get ready to get your sweat on!