The USDA recommends 30 minutes of exercise daily for adults, but a whopping 94% of Americans don’t meet that requirement. Only 22% exercise three or four times a week.
The most common excuse for not working out regularly? TIME.
Another big one: COST.
The truth is, fitness doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and a costly gym membership is not a prerequisite for a healthy body. For a highly efficient way to burn calories, often requiring only your own body weight as equipment, give interval training a try.
What is interval training?
To put it simply, interval training is exercising hard for a short period of time, followed by a brief recovery period, and repeating for a certain number of sets. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is twice as efficient as normal exercise, meaning you get maximum burn for your buck, in less time. And because short bursts of intense work push your muscles so greatly, your metabolism keeps working for hours afterward, burning calories like it’s going out of style.
Studies indicate that 27 minutes of HIIT done three times a week is as effective as ONE FULL HOUR of steady, moderate cardio done five times a week. Workouts are appropriate for all fitness levels, as you can customize to be as intense as YOU need them to be. Short intervals are perceived as less boring, and exercisers are more willing to PUSH for “just a few seconds more.”
During the work periods, you should push until you are breathing heavily, or at an effort of 6 or 7 out of 10. If you have a heart rate monitor, aim for 80-85% of your maximum heart rate (find out how to calculate that number here).
Be sure to take a rest day after a HIIT workout to avoid overtaxing your body.
More about HIIT:
Build your own HIIT workouts from FitFluential
5 minute HIIT from Everlast Fitness
13 HIIT and TABATA workouts from FitFluential
What is Tabata?
Tabata is basically ultra high intensity interval training: 20 seconds all-out work, 10 seconds rest, for 8 intervals (a four minute workout). It’s an incredibly time-efficient fat burn, but intended for those whose hearts, lungs and muscles are already conditioned enough to reach the required level of intensity.
Check out Tabata Training: Why You Should Be Doing it! from FitFluential
What is Bit Timer?
Bit Timer is an interval timing app specifically designed for High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, currently available in the iTunes store for only $0.99. Bit Timer is elegant and easy to use: just press and drag to set Work, Rest, & Repeat. The numbers are large enough to be readable at a distance, and Bit Timer works with the music that keeps you moving, fading it out strategically so you can hear the tones that indicate a change in activity.
No frills, no fuss. If you’re shaving minutes off your exercise routine, you don’t want to spend unnecessary time fiddling with a timer, right? Sometimes beautifully simple is where it’s at. Bit Timer is a streamlined app to fit your streamlined workout.
Interval workouts to kick your butt into gear!
We’ve also got loads of interval workouts on our FitFluential Workouts Pinterest board— and new ones are being pinned all the time!
Have you tried the Bit Timer app?
What’s your favorite HIIT workout? Leave us a link in the comments!