Testing The Limit
IF YOUR GOAL is to burn fat, interval training should be part of your workout program. Interval training is a great way to hammer out a quick workout, and it’s extremely effective for transforming your physique.
By incorporating intense periods of work with short recovery segments, interval training helps you give maximum intensity while still maintaining your exercise form. The magic of high intensity interval training (or HIIT, for short) is that it keeps your body burning fat even after you leave the gym. During a HIIT workout, your body can’t shuttle enough oxygen to your muscles during periods of hard work. Therefore, your muscles accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result: Your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym. Trainers refer to this phenomena as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. The biggest way to use it to your advantage is to regularly work short, intense bouts of exercise into your workout regimen.
Intense circuits also stimulate muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1. This puts your body in a perfect state to build lean mass. And in addition to the hormone response, interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By elevating your heart rate during periods of hard work, you’ll increase your cardio ability and strengthen your heart. During the short rest intervals, you also increase your recovery capabilities—meaning you’ll be able to recover faster in future workout sessions.