Fitness Programs for Women: High Intensity Interval Training

Posted on July 16th, 2011 by Jamie Revell in Fitness Programs

fitness programs for women: HIIT

Steady state cardio is out and interval training is in…but not just any kind of interval training. High intensity interval training, HIIT, is the new and improved fitness program for women. It not only burns calories but also targets and burns fat. Besides the calories it burns during your workout, it also burns calories afterwards while you are recovering, giving you a greater chance to create a calorie deficit. Plus, if you’re switching up your workout routine often, it gives your body less of a chance to adapt and plateau! 

Fitness Programs for Women: Interval Training

Before high intensity interval training became well- known and popular in the fitness world, the fitness program for women that guaranteed fat loss was interval training. Interval training is exactly what the name implies: you do sets of exercises in intervals, meaning that you take your heart rate up during a high intensity exercise and then take it back down during a low intensity exercise. The best example of interval training is alternating between sprinting and walking; depending on the goals of your routine, you can do interval training according to time or distance. 

New & Improved Fitness Programs for Women: High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training is different because it really is intense. This fitness program is designed for the person to work his or her hardest during the high intensity interval; you work at maximum effort for the duration of the high intensity set, and then bring your heart rate back down by doing an interval or set of a moderate-intensity exercise. High intensity interval training can range from biking/HIIT-designed spinning class to a cardio kickboxing class to athletic training.

 Benefits of HIIT

Unlike normal aerobic classes, this fitness program for women uses your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Because of the high intensity/maximum effort intervals, you push yourself above normal aerobic limits. Aerobic means that you use oxygen during exercise, which is usually low to moderate intensity and of long duration. Conversely, anaerobic means “without oxygen,” so when you lift heavy weights or sprint during a high intensity interval workout, you’re using your anaerobic energy system. Each system has unique benefits, and because you’re using both systems, you reap the benefits of both! Among the many benefits, a few include that aerobic exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, and anaerobic exercise helps you become stronger, burning more calories at rest. Other benefits of HIIT training are that you use fat as fuel during your workout, and while losing weight, you won’t lose the amount of muscle as one would with the traditional way of steady-state cardio. But the key is to push yourself beyond your normal limits- get out of your comfort zone!

 Precautions of HIIT

As high intensity interval training is a great fitness program for women whatever their goals may be, there are still some precautions to take. For example, if you have not exercised in a long time, and your cardiovascular strength is poor, begin exercising at a beginner’s level and work your way toward high intensity interval training. If you have any injuries, be careful of some of the exercises you may be doing in your training. If you have been exercising for a while, have not been doing HIIT, and want to start this type of fitness program, you should start slowly by only completing a few sets of high intensity intervals and then gradually add more sets. You definitely need to warm up and cool down and stretch before and after your training, respectively. Remember to work as hard as you can during the high intensity intervals, as they only last a short amount of time. Lastly, please note again that this type of fitness program for women is not for all women; if you are just beginning, consult a fitness trainer first, and if you have a medical condition, consult a physician. Good luck & train hard! 

Photos courtesy of workoutsforhome.com & ayushveda.com

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