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Get fit with HIIT

Joint Base Andrews, Md. -- Would you like to increase the effectiveness of your cardio or aerobic workouts? Do you sometimes feel like you don't have enough time to do an effective workout? Are you interested in losing weight, increasing your cardio/aerobic endurance, or bulking up? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be interested in "High-Intensity Interval Training," or HIIT.

HIIT is a training routine that alternates moderate levels and high-intensity levels of exertion, in the form of intervals. For example, after a few minutes of warming up on equipment like the elliptical machine, bike, treadmill, or even on the running track, do an all-out burst of speed for 30 seconds.

After 30 seconds of exertion, slow down to 75 percent of your maximum speed. Work at this level for 60 seconds. Do a total of 5 intervals of 30 seconds followed by the 60-second recovery, then cool down for a few minutes. The entire workout can be done in about 15 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down!

Research has shown HIIT-style workouts burn body fat more effectively than lower-intensity exercises - in fact, up to 50 percent more effectively. HIIT routines also speed up your metabolism and builds muscle.

HIIT workouts are so effective because they force your body out of a "comfort zone" you may not even realize you have created. When you work out on a regular basis, in a predictable way such as, running or walking at the same pace on the treadmill, your body achieves a steady-state workload to support the effort. Over time, your body becomes more efficient at supporting the effort, which means you end up burning less energy to do the same amount of work!

Alternatively, HIIT workouts do not permit your body to achieve that steady-state condition. From your body's perspective, simply alternating medium and high-intensity intervals is enough to keep it out of the comfort zone, or "plateau," many people experience when they workout out in a typical way.

The bottom line is pretty simple: HIIT works, and it can work wonders for you. Consider inserting a HIIT workout into your regular schedule once a week, and get ready to take your fitness to the next level!

If you are interested in more information on becoming a HIIT man or woman, contact the fitness center staff at (301) 981-7101.