Lately I’ve been reading up on, and practicing, high-intensity interval training on the treadmill. It’s becoming increasingly popular, and I’m constantly seeing info about it in magazine like Self, Shape, and Women’s Health. What is it, you ask? I’ll explain.
Basically, HIIT involves alternating speeds, so for a short amount of time, you might sprint, and there is a recovery period at a slower pace. This is obviously different from simply running a few miles at a consistent speed. If you know anything about exercise, you know that it is important to confuse your body so it doesn’t get used to the exercise. Research shows that running at a consistent speed is not as effective as switching it up, as HIIT does.
Usually, HIIT workouts can be shorter, and they burn more calories. There are about 6-10 sets of a fast speed, with recovery periods at a lower speed in between. For instance, in Self Magazine’s April 2012 issue, they feature a HIIT workout plan. I’ll break down the first week of the plan as example of what an HIIT workout looks like.
Workout 1: Sprint for 8 seconds at about 8mph, or level 8 on the treadmill. Recover for 12 seconds at level 5. Repeat for 15 minutes.
Workout 2: Sprint at level 8 for 90 seconds, then recover at level 4 for 3 minutes. Repeat 6 times for a total of 27 minutes.
Workout 3: Run 2 miles at level 6.
The workout is actually a 5-week long quest, but you can clearly see a sample of the procedure above. Thanks Self Magazine.
Personally, I like to run at level 6-7 for 5 minutes, and then recover for one minute. Or, I like to run the first mile, recover for 2-3 minutes, then work on running the second mile.
The importance is to change speeds so your body doesn’t get too used to doing the same thing the entire time.
Besides the fact that this approach burns more calories not only during the workout but also after, it may also help improve athletic performance in general.
I also found a great article that explains more about HIIT on Oxygenmag.com. You can read the article here.
I’m not an expert on fitness or anything, but I really enjoy reading about new workouts, and I have reason to believe that this one is very effective. I have been trying it for a few months now, and I am amazed at how much my endurance and speed while running have improved.
It is also great for beginner runners, because of the recovery periods that allow you to catch your breath. Try it, please! I’ve been saying this every day, but summer is rapidly approaching. Do you want to be the loser that couldn’t succeed at improving her body and health, or do you want to triumph? You decide.