Top Exercises to Use With HIIT

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HIIT is high intensity interval training. By now, most of us will know what this term means and be familiar with how to go about using it. Simply put, it means that you are going to be alternating between periods of high intensity (normally at around 90-100% of your MHR) and periods of relatively low intensity and recovery (at around 70% of your MHR).

What this does, is to deplete your stores of glycogen and ATP, so that the only way your body can get the energy it needs to carry on with the low intensity training is to burn fat. You thus burn more fat both during the workouts and also continuously after the workout has finished! 

But HIIT doesn’t just have to mean running. Actually, there are a number of different exercises you can use in order to burn more fat and build more muscle and these work perfectly when combined with a HIIT workout.

Here are some great examples:

Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing is an exercise that involves swinging a kettlebell up in the air and then letting it fall back down again. The momentum generated by this allows you to continuously exert yourself and ultimately, it’s a great way to provide a cardio challenge that burns fat while at the same time challenging and building up your muscles as well.

This is the perfect example of ‘concurrent training’ and will not only burn more fat but also tone and build muscle and generally help you to see amazing results.

Pull Ups

Pull ups are very well suited to HIIT, as long as you can perform enough of them with good technique. When you start to tire, you can always try to use a bit more momentum, at which point they become ‘kipping pull ups’ like those taught in CrossFit classes.

High Knees

If you can’t get outside to run, then another way to burn a lot of calories with a similar motion is to perform high knees. Stand on the spot, hold your hands up high and then run so that your knees hit your hands.

Tuck Jumps

Jump up in the air and then hug your knees in toward your chest each time you reach the apex of your jump.

Jack in the Box

Here, you squat down into a huddled position and then jump straight up in the air and kick your hands and arms out like a starfish. This not only challenges your legs to deliver a lot of explosive power but also involves your entire body in the movement!

Clapping Push Ups

HIIT works best when you involve your fast twitch muscle fiber. Fortunately, clapping push ups are a type of exercise that do exactly that thanks to their plyometric nature. These are much harder and more ballistic than regular press ups and can be used to burn through calories as a result.

Other CV

Of course running is just one example of a CV workout. Just as good is rowing, swimming, bike… Try them all and see what works best for you!

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The Best Diet and Supplement Regime to Combine With HIIT

So you just discovered HIIT? No doubt you’re loving just how easy it is to get a fat burning, calorie melting workout in now and you’re getting a kick out of pushing yourself so hard.

But while you’re probably feeling great, you should know that fat loss and muscle gain do not happen in the gym or on the track. Rather, they happen in the kitchen. If you really want to make the very most of HIIT, the you should combine it with the right diet… hiit

The Basics – Calories In, Calories Out

The great thing about HIIT is that it is a form of MetCon – metabolic conditioning. That is to say that it doesn’t just burn calories while you’re training, it also increases your calorie burn at rest by making your cells more efficient at burning through fat stores and sugars. Thus, even when you’re resting, you’re going to lose more weight.

But you still need to try and calculate this as much as you can and to do that, you need to figure out a rough ‘AMR’ – the total number of calories you burn in a day (this stands for ‘Active Metabolic Rate’). Likewise, you should track the calories you’re taking in with an app like MyFitnessPal and what this will then allow you to do, is to make sure you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning off. If you do this, then you should lose weight – and especially with the metabolic benefits.

Carb Backloading

Some people will tell you that it is important to reduce carbs – at least the simple kind. That’s because carbs spike the blood sugar and your body responds by producing insulin, absorbing that sugar and then storing it as fat.

If you’re concerned about this, you can try something called ‘carb backloading’. Here, you simply consume carbs only immediately following a workout. This wouldn’t work with aerobic training but HIIT will deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles. Thus, the priority of your body will become refuelling those glycogen stores, meaning that you’ll be less likely to store the excess energy as fat!

This way, you can still enjoy your carbs but without the guilt!

Supplements

One supplement that makes a lot of sense in conjunction with a HIIT workout program is creatine. That’s because creatine allows you to recycle ATP in your system, which in turn means you can rely on the ATP-CP energy system just a little longer. This in turn means that you can go all out for a second or so more when performing the high intensity portion of your workouts. That’s a big difference and it will result in better results. All that and creatine has also been shown to add muscle (by increasing water retention in the muscles) and to boost IQ!

Meanwhile, you can also try other supplements that will enhance your cellular energy. Popular choices include l-carnitine, CoQ10 and omega 3.

You don’t need any supplements, but adding a little l-carnitine and creatine can only help you see results faster!

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How HIIT Challenges the Body and Improves Fat Loss

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If you’ve read just about any fitness blog, magazine or website in recent years, then you’ll likely have come across HIIT. HIIT: high intensity interval training. Sprinting at maximum heart rate for a short period of time and then switching to a slower form of exercise for a couple of minutes to recover before starting the whole cycle again.

This type of training is all the rage because it is known to burn more calories in less time when compared with steady state cardio. And it’s great for our VO2 max, mitochondrial function and more.hiit

But why? How does it work? What makes it so special?

What Happens When You Push it Hard

When you engage in HIIT, you start out by pushing hard and going at or near to your maximum heart rate. This is what makes all the difference, as now you are depleting your body of all of its readily available energy in order to drive those fast twitch muscle fibers. This is anaerobic training and it relies on ATP stored in the muscles, as well as glycogen.

After this, you then switch to your regular exercise at around 70% of your maximum heart rate. This is a steady pace that you can maintain, that burns fat using the aerobic system and that allows you to recover and reduce the lactate and other metabolites that build up in your blood during intensive exercise.

Welcome to After Burn

Steady state cardio is normally something you can maintain for a long time before you start to tire out and this is why a lot of people will exercise by running at a steady pace for 40-60 minutes.

If you do this after having done high intensity training however, you will be running at a point when you have very little available energy in your muscles and in your blood. All the glycogen has been used up and thus you have to rely even more on fat in order to keep going. Your body becomes more efficient at burning fat and you see greater benefits from the short amount of training that comes after.

But this isn’t even the best bit. What’s so good about HIIT is that this after burn effect continues for hours after you finish training. You’re now going about your usual activities with less glycogen, which means you’ll burn more fat even to do regular things like picking up a fork, or walking across the room!

Athletic Benefits

HIIT is also great for numerous other reasons. For starters, the explosive nature of the training means that you’re involving your fast twitch muscle fibers. This means that you’ll release more anabolic hormones like growth hormone and like testosterone, leading to more growth. And because you’re not completely relying on your blood sugar, you’re not going to go into as catabolic a state and risk burning fat.

Another benefit of HIIT is that it improves your energy efficiency. Because you’re pushing your cells to make energy more quickly, they become better at doing just that – improving your health, fitness and athletic performance across the board!

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