Even if you are already having regular martial arts training sessions, if you’re looking to shed unwanted pounds quickly, there’s nothing as effective as high-intensity cardio intervals. Here we’ll take a closer look at what makes interval training so effective, as well as provide tips on how to incorporate it into your schedule.
What is Interval Training?
Popular cardio activities such as cycling or jogging typically call for a steady activity pace that doesn’t vary much over the course of your workout. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), on the other hand, calls for maximum effort as applied to quick but intense bursts of activity (i.e., sprinting instead of just running). Each activity period is followed by a short recovery period, followed by another burst of activity, another rest period, and so on.
This type of training conditions both your aerobic and your anaerobic energy systems at the same time. It also gives your cardiovascular system a great workout while burning up excess calories.
The Benefits of Interval Training
It’s true that any form of exercise is going to help you lose weight and get into better shape, eventually. However, HIIT really delivers when you’re looking to maximize your results. Let us count the ways!
1. You’ll supercharge your calorie-burning potential
When you interval train, you’re not just burning calories while you’re working out. The very nature of interval training boosts your metabolism for up to two hours after you conclude your workout.
Also, the quick bursts of activity involved in HIIT are likely to burn more calories than you’d burn doing steady interval cardio for the same amount of time. More calories burned means more overall weight shed over a shorter time period!
2. You’re a lot more likely to stick with the program
Some people positively live to work out. Other people really don’t like exercising all that much. In any case, it’s important that you find something you really enjoy doing to help you stick with the program.
Moderate-intensity, steady-paced cardio can get pretty monotonous, after a while. However, people who choose high intensity, vigorous exercise instead tend to report a higher degree of enjoyment with their workouts. They are also less likely to become bored or complacent as a result.
3. You’ll build some serious endurance
Picking up the pace during your workouts doesn’t just help your body make short work of those unwanted pounds. It benefits your overall health by boosting your endurance levels. Your blood pressure improves, as does your overall brain and body function.
Best of all, improved endurance makes the rest of your life easier as well. You’ll find moderate intensity workouts like runs or bike rides becoming easier. Everyday acts like household chores become less of a hassle.
4. You don’t need to buy a lot of expensive equipment
Any type of cardio exercise can constitute a portion of your HIIT workout, so it’s fine if you want to include some time on the elliptical machine or the stationary bike. However, running in place, jumping jacks, burpees, and similar exercises are just as effective.
In other words, you don’t need to have a gym membership or access to a lot of fancy equipment to reap the benefits of cardio interval training. You just need a little dedication and a can-do spirit.
5. You can fit it into even the busiest of schedules
A lot of people tell themselves that they don’t have time to work out. In some cases, it might even be true, but what if we told you it doesn’t take a massive time commitment to see serious results?
When you choose a high-intensity cardio workout over a standard option, you can literally afford to cut your workout time in half. If you can set aside three 15-20 minute periods to spend on HIIT each week, you’ll see similar (if not better) results than you would spending twice that time jogging or cycling at a steadier pace.
In other words, if you’re looking for a workout that delivers incredible results without being boring or taking up too much of your free time, high-intensity interval training might be the perfect fit for you.
What to Know Before You Start
While HIIT workouts are definitely more effective, they can cause more wear and tear on the body, so it’s important to be safe and smart about how you approach your workouts.
- Always spend five minutes warming up before your cardio intervals, as well as five minutes cooling down afterward.
- Allow your body time to properly recover in between workouts. Also, make sure you’re taking at least one or two rest days every week.
- Start off slowly with your workouts, especially if you’re new to interval training. Amp things up after you get a feel for the new rhythm.
- If some movements are too challenging for you, don’t be afraid to make some modifications or adjustments, especially if you’re new to working out or in poor shape.
- Feeling challenged when you work out is one thing. If you experience difficulty breathing, easy up on your pace and cool down.
With any exercise regime, you’ll want to make sure you’re treating your body right at all times. Fit a couple of interval training sessions into your regular martial arts routine and reap all the benefits of this program!
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