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Published On: June 22, 2018 08:12 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

All you need to know about High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a workout that alternates between intense exercises and short yet active recovery periods. The training comprises of cardio and resistance exercises that are great for building muscles, losing fat, and enhancing cardiovascular endurance. The best part about this exercise is that you will continue burning fat and calories even 24 hours after the workout. 

It is said that 10 minutes of this exercise can burn more calories than about half hour on the treadmill. So to find out more about this exercise, we at The Week spoke to Shamsher Rana, fitness instructor at Next Step Fitness in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. According to Rana, HIIT is great for people who have extremely tight schedules because this is one form of exercise that can do wonders in a short period of time. Here is how. 
Getting started 
The key to getting maximum benefits from this workout is definitely by making it intense. The whole point of doing HIIT is to increase the intensity of your cardio. For this workout, you will be required to exaggerate your range of motion in each set and try to push yourself harder every time. 
There is also no equipment required for this workout. You can use the treadmill, step master or jump rope for this exercise but the best way to go about it is by using very little equipment and focusing more on pushing your body to its maximum. The perfect way to get the most out of this workout is by using your own body weight. 

Taking breaks: An integral part of HIIT
One of the defining elements of HIIT is regular and active rests in between sets. If one does not take out time to recover from these intense exercises that means he/she is not doing it properly. Usually gyms and personal fitness trainers do time your exercises and make sure that you have proper rest periods. But one does not need fancy workout plans or gym equipment for this exercise. You can figure out the drill of HIIT workout and apply its format at home by yourself very easily. 

For beginners, it is best to go ahead with the ratio of 1:2. That means if you are doing an exercise for 20, 30 or 40 seconds then rest for twice as long before starting with your next set. As soon as you get better with this exercise, you can upgrade yourself to the ratio of 1:1. This kind of training session usually lasts for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you are completely new to this fitness regime then expert supervision is necessary. 

Benefits of HIIT 
One of the greatest benefits of high intensity interval training is that it will burn more calories than other normal cardio exercises. It is also considered one of the fastest and the most efficient ways of getting in shape. Also, you will burn calories long after you have finished working out. 
Another great thing about this exercise is that it will not let you lose muscle mass. Most people who exercise may realize that along with burning fats, exercises also make you lose muscle mass as well. But HIIT helps you keep your muscles intact even when you lose weight. 

This intense training can also help in increasing your metabolism. According to Thapa, HIIT stimulates the production of a person’s human growth hormone (HGH) even 24 hours after the workout. This is beneficial not only for burning calories but also slowing down your aging process. 
As this workout requires almost no equipment, you can do it anywhere and get maximum benefit out of it. There is very less space and time constraints for this training exercise. If done properly, this exercise can reduce belly fat, increase strength and also improve your heart health. 

Downside of doing HIIT everyday 
One of the most common side effects of doing HIIT workout everyday is body injury. According to Thapa, if you do this exercise everyday you may risk overstraining your muscle tissue by not giving them enough time to recover. So he advises performing this exercise only two to three times a week. 

Another downside of this workout is obviously mental burn out. You may be doing this rigorous exercise everyday but your brain and body will eventually start feeling very tired and lag behind in many other activities. Hence, it is better to switch between normal cardio, yoga, strength workout and HIIT workout if you like exercising everyday. Also, one day of complete rest is essential for your body to recover.

Common misconceptions about High Intensity Interval Training 
People often feel that a long session of HIIT can give better results. But more than 25 minutes of HIIT workout can have adverse effects on your body. Another misconception is that all exercises can be turned into HIIT workout. But the truth is for high intensity training one needs do exercises that affect your entire cardiovascular system. 

And lastly, just doing HIIT will not lead to weight loss. It is actually a combination of good diet and HIIT exercise that will help you shed the extra kilos. Also, just because HIIT workout burns calories 24 hours after the exercise session does not mean you can eat anything throughout the day. Make sure you drink enough water, eat right and stick to healthy food. 

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