High-Intensity Interval Training : 5 Reasons Why I Like It!

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, June 3, 2011 | Published in


Have you heard of High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT?

It is a specialized form of exercise that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by similar or longer intervals of moderate or low intensity exercise.

I first learn about HIIT from Dr. Al Sears, author of The Doctor's Heart Cure and later from Dr Mercola, who owns the world's No.1 natural health website, Mercola.com.

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You can do any exercise using HIIT - skip rope, jog, cycle, swim or even use the elliptical trainer, treadmill or stair-stepper in the gym. For me, I prefer to jog.

This is how I use HIIT in my jogging. Start by sprinting as fast as you can for 1 minute. Then jog moderately or walk for 3 minutes. Repeat the high intensity (sprinting) alternating with the low intensity (jogging or walking) for another 6 or 7 times. Because it is such a demanding exercise, I can only perform HIIT 2-3 times a week.

Of course you should warm up for 3-5 minutes before doing the exercise and cool down for another 3-5 minutes after you are done with it.

So why do I like HIIT? Here are my 5 reasons...

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1. It saves time!
While the normal aerobic exercises like jogging takes about one hour, I am done with HIIT in about 30 minutes. Or even less, if you are fitter. You can sprint for 1 minute and jog moderately for another 1 minute instead of 3 minutes like what I did. Repeat this 7 times, and your total exercise time is only 14 minutes!! Add in 3 minutes of warm up in the beginning and another 3 minutes to cool down at the end, and your whole workout time is only 20 minutes! What a time saver!

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2. It strengthens the heart
Contrary to popular belief, the conventional jogging at a fixed speed over long distance and for long periods of time actually weakens the heart. That explains why some marathon runners, who are supposedly fit, die from heart attacks.

Aerobic exercises which stress your heart for long periods of time have been proven to increase your heart endurance power. But heart attacks do not happen because your heart lacks endurance. Instead, it happens during times of stress when your heart needs more energy and pumping capacity but does not have it.

High-intensity interval training which involves short bursts of intense workout followed by periods of rest or more relaxing workout makes the heart stronger and more effective in preventing a heart attack.

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3. It helps you lose fat more effectively
Cardio and aerobic exercises have been proven to burn body fat during exercise. Also the longer you exercise, the more fat you burn. But do you know this actually sends the wrong signal to the body?

Burning fat doing prolonged exercise makes your body think it needs fat and so it will try and adapt by storing more fat for your next workout! Your body becomes more efficient at preserving the fats and if you stop exercising, you will put on those pounds much faster than before!

On the contrary, HIIT tells your body that storing energy as fat is inefficient, since you never exercise long enough to utilize the fat during each session.

Also, high intensity workout increases your resting metabolic rate, which means you will burn fat long after you have finished exercising! So while normal aerobic exercise will burn more fat during the exercise itself, but stop burning fat after your exercise, HIIT actually burns less fat during exercise but continues to burn fat for the rest of the day!

Overall, you end up losing more fat using HIIT with less exercise time!

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4. It makes you look younger
A major advantage of intensive training is that it will stimulate your body to produce human growth hormones (HGH). What does HGH do? Well, it is clinically proven to build muscle, burn fat, improve bone density, raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and reverse the negative effects of aging.

Intensive training also helps to reduce age-related telomere shortening. It'll take too long for me to explain what is telomere and how it relates to looking younger, so it's better you read about it HERE.

For your information, traditional aerobic exercise has no effect on HGH and telomere shortening.

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5. It helps you build a better looking body
Who do you think have a better looking body - a marathon runner or a 100-metre sprinter? It's not surprising since a sprinter uses HIIT in his training whereas a marathon runner does not.

The reason is simple. HIIT raises your testosterone level which helps build muscles, whereas long duration aerobic exercises actually makes you lose lean muscle mass. That is why if you do normal aerobics exercise, you will lose both fat and muscle making you look thin but not toned, just like a marathon runner.

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Now with these 5 reasons, will you be willing to try high-intensity interval training?

Note : HIIT is a very demanding exercise. If you have underlying medical conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases etc, proceed with caution. Get a clearance from your doctor or physician before starting HIIT.

For more info on HIIT, get a copy of Dr Al Sears' PACE e-book, or learn more from Dr Mercola's PEAK8 program.