The perfect solution

Published On: September 1, 2017 02:51 PM NPT

Tried everything but still seem unable to burn some fat and lose weight? “High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) might be just what you need,” says Sanjeev Shrestha, fitness trainer at Oyster Spa and Fitness Club, Sinamangal, Kathmandu, adding that HIIT can be an incredibly effective way to work out and see the body composition and fitness results you want. But you need to do it right. 
According to Shrestha, people have a lot of misconceptions about this cardio exercise. Though the name says it all, and you know it’s a form on intense workout that involves doing a variety o moves in intervals, there is a lot more to it. “You start with HIIT with warm-ups, followed by low-intensity activity and then move on towards more complex moves,” he explains adding that this form of training has been adopted by many professionals. However, he is quick to clarify that it’s not just for body builders or athletes. “Those who want to be fit and improve their stamina can also do this exercise,” says Shrestha. 

But before you take up this form on intense training, there are some basic things you must know. Here, Shrestha sheds light on these important aspects so you can torch calories, burn fat, and build muscle effectively.

Before you begin
As with all forms of exercise, make sure you sit down and make a proper exercise plan with a professional trainer before you begin a round of HIIT. “People randomly start exercising following the guidelines found in the internet. This is a sure shot way to injure yourself,” says Shrestha adding that muscle tear, and elbow and back pain are very common when you exercise without guidance. “I strongly recommend that you consult a trainer before you begin HIIT or any other form of exercise for that matter to avoid injury and not damage your posture,” he says adding that you can exercise on your own later on when you better understand how it is done. 
Also, Shrestha says that it is important to keep your health condition in mind before starting a workout regime. “You need to be in a good health condition to do HIIT as these exercises need more stamina, endurance, and will power,” he says. Those who have certain health conditions should steer clear of HIIT and do other exercises instead. “Your fitness trainer and doctor will be able to recommend the right exercise for you,” adds Shrestha explaining that usually teenagers to people between 40-45 years of age are the perfect candidates for HIIT provided there is no underlying health condition.

Workout schedule 
Shrestha says that there is no right time to do HIIT and that people can do it anytime they prefer, whether it be morning, daytime or evening. “But the thing you must keep in mind is the number of times you do it. Since it burns quite a lot of calories in a short time frame, doing HIIT once a day is ideal,” he says. A HIIT workout that is 30 minutes long will burn roughly 500 to 600 calories. “Keep this in mind and exercise accordingly,” says Shrestha adding that you must also allot time for rest in between exercises. “Rest periods between each set are an essential part of the workout. If you don’t take time to recover, you are not getting the full benefit of the exercise,” says Shrestha. 

Diet plan
It’s essential to follow a good diet plan if you wish to lose weight. Even if you workouts are super demanding, you can’t neglect your diet. “There is no point in doing the HIIT and burning 600 calories if you will consume 1200 calories in snacks right afterward,” says Shrestha adding that you also have to time your meals right in order to get all the nutritional benefits from it. “You should eat a heavy meal right before working out because a) your meals won’t be digested properly and b) you will also experience abdominal pain when exercising,” he says further explaining that you must wait an hour or so after a meal to start exercising but it’s best to opt for something filling and energy giving like a banana before a workout. “Also make sure you include brown bread, raw carrots, and egg whites in your diet,” he says. 

The benefits of HIIT
Studies have shown that high-intensity cardio – the kind that leaves you out of breath – raises your metabolic rate to the point where you continue to burn calories even after the session ends. But too much of anything isn’t a good thing. “Don’t schedule a HIIT session every day of the week. Try it three times a week with moderate cardio on the other two days,” says Shrestha. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. And the best part is that since it’s such a simple concept –go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat – you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.

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