Feel like you have hit a fat loss plateau and can't seem to make any progress? Try this High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout routine that will boost your metabolism and spike your heart rate.
Many of us perform cardio at a moderate pace or just enough to break a sweat and "feel" like we have had the ultimate workout. At one point in time your cardio routine may have been very challenging. Several weeks later that may no longer be the case. You may begin to notice that you are idly going through the motions and your once challenging routine has become a breeze. Your body is no longer having to exert itself as much as it had in the past to complete the exact same routine. Your heart rate will not be as high and your total calorie burn may have dwindled. Now you are at the point of maintaining your weight but not losing the fat as you had in the beginning. Try switching up your routine and challenge yourself with a High Intensity Interval Workout. This workout will only take about 30 minutes to complete but you can guarantee that it will be intense.
What is High Intensity Interval Training?
In HIIT, the intervals are set for a short period of high intensity training with just below maximum effort followed by a recovery period of low intensity. The beauty of HIIT is that your heart rate will stay elevated the majority of the workout even during the low intensity period. The low intensity recovery phase allows for you to not exert as much effort as your heart rate begins to drop. Before you know it, it is time to work at a higher intensity again.
During the high intensity phase, there is no set number of repetitions to hit -- you just need to work at a high level of intensity for that brief window until the time is up and you enter the low intensity/ active recovery phase. With HIIT training, you get out of it what you put in. So if you barely push yourself during the workout, you will barely burn the amount of calories that you are capable of. HIIT is a great way to torch calories in a time crunch.
How Do I Know If I Am Working at Maximum Intensity?
I recommend doing a trial run of just one round of your workout at nearly maximum intensity that will allow you to find out what your max number of repetitions is for one interval. Write down the number and try to beat it or come close to that number every round. This will ensure that you really try to push yourself and are not just going through the motions to run out the clock until the low intensity phase. Three of the most popular ways to gauge your exercise intensity are through the talk test, target heart rate and your perceived exertion.
To keep track of your time and number of rounds, you can buy an interval timer or download an interval timer app on your smart phone. The timer will beep or buzz at the end of an interval signifying it is time to increase or decrease intensity.
If you complete 30 minutes of HIIT and you feel like it was simple -- NEWSFLASH -- you were not working at a high enough intensity.
High Intensity Interval Training Routine
Below is a sample workout you can perform at the gym or outside. No equipment needed!
The workout below calls for a 20 second high: 20 second low split. If you are just beginning you can change the split to 10:20, or for the more advanced a 30:30. Pick an interval length that fits your current athletic ability but is still challenging.
During the low intensity portion you will jog in place, pumping your arms as active recovery. Do not stop moving, you want to allow your heart rate to come down a little bit but still be elevated.
6 Rounds -- 20 seconds low intensity: 20 seconds high intensity -- 30 Minutes Total
Low -- Jog
High -- Mountain Climbers
Low -- Jog
High -- In and Out Jump Squats
Low -- Jog
High -- Jumping Jacks
Low -- Jog
High -- High Reach Jump Squats (Wide Stance)
Low -- Jog
High -- Skater Lunges
Low -- Jog
High -- Body Drops
Rest 1 minute between rounds
Mountain Climbers -- Start in a plank position with palms and balls of feet as your contact points on the ground. Bring alternating knees up to your chest. Move as fast as possible while keeping your hips low.
In and Out Jump Squats -- Start standing with your feet together. Jump both feet out into a narrow stance and squat. Pop back up and bring feet back together into the starting position. Should be performed quickly. Push through your heels on each jump.
High Reach Jump Squats -- Start in a wide stance squat with your toes pointed out. Allow your arms to hang in front of you. Jump up as high as you can and bring your arms up reaching as high as possible. Land back into the low wide squat stance.
Skater Lunges -- Start standing then cross your left leg behind your right leg and tap the ground with your left foot. Push off the ground with your right foot and land on your left foot crossing your right leg behind you. Incorporate your arms in this move and stay nice and low. Hop from leg to leg with as much explosion and intensity as possible.
Body Drops -- Start in a standing position then drop your hands down to the ground. Jump your feet back so you land in a plank position. Jump feet back up to your hands and stand up. To make this move more challenging, jump off the ground and reach your arms up rather than just standing to the return position.
Please consult with your medical doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Since this high intensity interval workout routine is to be performed at a fast pace, be sure that your form is perfect during each move. Do not sacrifice your form in order to complete more repetitions or out do your previous scores. While there is no way to prevent injury 100 percent, maintaining proper form will make you less prone to exercise-related injury.
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