Come New Year time and every Tom, Dick and Harry can be seen making fitness promises to himself/herself. Building muscles and undergoing weight loss are two of the most commonly made fitness goals by people. But a large majority of them remain clueless about what all to do to achieve those fitness goals.
H I T or high-intensity training has evolved as the best method of accomplishing ones fitness goals owing to its ability to challenge ones mental and physical limits. It is extremely efficient and provides constant cardiovascular benefits.
What is meant by high-intensity training?
For those of you who have never gone on a diet before, I’ll not be surprised if your idea of high-intensity is a situation wherein there’s just one dessert left in your office pantry! However, talking about the realm of fitness, high-intensity training refers to an exercise routine which pushes your body to its limit. When discussing high-intensity training, it has two broad variants – high intensity strength training and high intensity cardiovascular training.
Cardiovascular high-intensity training
Popularly referred to as H I T cardio, this type of exercise routine works phenomenally well for burning calories swiftly. With such intensive cardiovascular exercise regime, there’s no way that you’ll get a chance to look anywhere else or get distracted during the workout session. There’ll be no time for gossiping as you’ll be constantly switching from one movement to the other. Some of the commonly known high-intensity cardio exercises are:
Sprinting – This involves running break-free and extremely hard for a pre-decided amount of time. It can be done on road, running track, sidewalk or a treadmill.
Rowing – Normally practiced in water inside a real boat, this Olympic sport can also be indulged in with the right kind of machines in your gymnasium.
Bicycling – This can be done by using either an actual bicycle or a stationary bike in a gymnasium. It all depends on your taste and preferences. Personally speaking, I find biking outdoors to be more fun!
One of the most important advantages of high-intensity cardiovascular training is that it’ll deliver a tremendous boost to your body’s metabolic rate. Engaging in such type of excessive training will keep your heart rate elevated even hours after the workout. What this implies is that you’ll burn more number of calories even when in the resting mode. High-intensity training is also popularly referred to as High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Why this is so is because this type of high-intensity training makes it mandatory for you to exercise in intervals. For instance, you may sprint as intensely possible for about 30 seconds, followed by slow jogging or walking for about a minute, and then repeat this cycle for the entire duration of your sprinting session.
High-intensity strength training
Same as in case of cardiovascular training, the high-intensity strength training involves pushing your body to the limit, but with the heavyweights. In this type of intensity training, you continue to do the same kind of lifts that you were doing before, but with increased weight.
Another important hallmark of such variant of strength training is that you lift till failure. What this means is that you continue lifting weights until the point you are unable to take out any more repetitions without changing your form. A very important issue that must be paid attention to while following high-intensity strength training is the resting period. Ensure that you get sufficient time in between your workout sessions, so that your muscles get ample time to recover. Else, you run a high risk of over training.
Overall advantages of high-intensity training
Now that you’re aware of the details and types of high-intensity training, you must be wondering whether its benefits are really good enough to push yourself so much?!
Why is everyone doing high-intensity workouts nowadays?!
The below listed advantages of high-intensity training will explain why:
Efficiency – During a high-intensity workout lasting for 10 to 15 minutes, your body can build a similar amount of muscle mass or burn similar number of calories as it would by spending 30 to 45 minutes doing moderately paced exercises. High-intensity training is a boom for people who can’t devote a lot of time to daily workouts.
Cardiovascular benefits – High-intensity training can take your heart’s health a notch higher, apart from increasing your endurance. The more workout your cardiovascular system and heart gets, the better it’ll be for its health.
Boost in natural metabolic rate – Several scientific studies have revealed that practicing high-intensity training on a regular basis helps in boosting the natural metabolic rate. Doctors are of the opinion that high-intensity training elevates the calorie burning rate of human body, not just during the workout time, but even 2 to 24 hours post the workout.
Challenging feeling – One of the reasons why we enjoy our workouts so much is because they’re quite challenging! When it’s about high-intensity training, the level of challenge is such that you’ll never feel having slackened even a bit. Although you may not get to work out as long or as frequently as other people on low intensity or moderate workouts, you’ll feel a sense of pride that you kicked your butt hard, even if for a little time.
Variation – High-intensity training is quite appealing for people who get bored of their workouts easily. This is because you get to do many different exercises. Apart from the basic cardiovascular routines such as swimming, bicycling and running, you get to do hybrid cardiovascular workouts such as burpees or jump squats. In high-intensity strength training, the high-intensity methodology can be applied to just about any lift, provided you don’t lift more than you can manage and maintain a proper form.
High-intensity training precautions
There’s nothing doubting the fact that high-intensity training is highly effective when it comes to building muscle mass and shedding unwanted pounds. However, there are few precautions that must be paid heed to.
– In case it’s been awhile that you exercised last and you’re quite out of shape, it’ll be better to start with some moderate exercises and slowly transition into high-intensity training over a period of time.
– If you recently suffered from any muscular and/or cardiovascular injury or medical condition, don’t forget to take your doctor into confidence before starting any high-intensity training routine. It isn’t easy to get into the perfect body shape quickly after getting discharged from a hospital. You may end up injuring yourself badly!
Everyone without exception would want to improve his/her looks, but does everyone have the required dedication to achieve that type of results?! With high-intensity training, the goal of shedding unwanted fat deposits and gaining muscle mass in a challenging and enjoyable way, can become a reality. Although it’ll take some dedication, sweat and time, once you create a perfect high-intensity training schedule, fitting to your body’s needs, and stick to it, your dream physique will no longer remain a distant reality!