…I DO HIIT? WHAT HAP­PENS WHEN...

In­ter­val train­ing may now be de rigeur for the busy fat-burner, but th­ese proven tips will give you an even big­ger bang for your burpee

Men's Health (UK) - - Agenda -

01 DO THE WORK

It’s true: if you’re not go­ing hard, you should go home. “For op­ti­mum re­sults dur­ing your high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing (HIIT), you need to work at 90-100% ef­fort for 15-30 sec­onds,” says sports ther­a­pist Barry Si­grist*. “By work­ing anaer­o­bi­cally (with­out oxy­gen for fuel) you pro­duce lac­tic acid, which re­leases adren­a­line, help­ing to move fat around the body.” With shorter work pe­ri­ods, you won’t fully ben­e­fit; go longer and you risk poor form – and turn­ing em­bar­rass­ingly red.

02 REST AS­SURED

To squeeze max­i­mum ben­e­fit from your all-out ef­forts, you need to rest the hell out of those in­ter­vals. “The ideal ra­tio for a 20-minute ses­sion is 30 sec­onds on, 60 sec­onds off. Rest­ing too long might feel like cheat­ing, but your mus­cles need time to re­new their oxy­gen and glyco­gen lev­els,” says Si­grist. “Too lit­tle rest and your body be­comes catabolic, break­ing down mus­cle tis­sue.” You’re not rest­ing be­cause you’re weak: you’re rest­ing be­cause you want to stay strong. So, chill.

03 LEVEL OUT

Of course, not every­one can hit the golden work-rest ra­tio on first try. As your mus­cles’ de­mand for oxy­gen out­strips sup­ply, your heart rate dur­ing rest pe­ri­ods will in­crease. “You may find your timed rest in­ter­vals in­suf­fi­cient to get you back to a level where you can per­form at full in­ten­sity,” says Si­grist. “Use a heart rate mon­i­tor to see ex­actly when your body is ready to go: 65% of your max heart rate is ideal.”

04 TEST RE­SULTS

To power your HIIT ses­sion, your body taps into mus­cle glyco­gen, not your fat stores. This might sound like the op­po­site of what you’re af­ter, but its weight­loss pow­ers are more sub­tle: “HIIT trig­gers a re­lease of hu­man growth hor­mone and testos­terone, both of which play a key role in metabolis­ing fat,” says Si­grist. For best re­sults, elicit a peak hor­monal re­sponse by in­cor­po­rat­ing multi-pla­nar com­pound move­ments (such as burpees) into your ses­sion, per­form­ing them as fast as you can. Don’t ex­pect to en­joy it.

05 A NEW EPOC

With your work­out over, you’ll leave the gym – or park – with your af­ter­burn­ers ig­nited. “Un­like steady-state car­dio, the magic of HIIT takes place af­ter your ses­sion. Your body has an ‘oxy­gen debt’ to re­pay, and this cre­ates some­thing called ex­cess post-ex­er­cise oxy­gen con­sump­tion (EPOC),” says Si­grist. Sim­ply put, you con­tinue burn­ing calo­ries for hours af­ter you stop. You can amplify this ef­fect by stay­ing ac­tive, so try to go be­fore work rather than af­ter and then head­ing home to surf the sofa – tempt­ing as it is.

ELITE-LEVEL TRAIN­ING IS ALL ABOUT THE TIM­ING

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