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6 Ways High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Results

6 Ways High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Results

We all want a quick fix, we don’t want to spend hours at the gym or scrutinizing every meal we eat just to find out we have only lost a pound after a month’s work. Though there is no magic pill that we can take to lose the extra weight overnight, there is an effective fat loss method that will keep burning fat up to 48 hours after a workout, and it’s called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.

HIIT is not universally known amongst the non-gym rats, as it is a method used by fitness models and endurance athletes to increase their metabolisms and to melt the fat away faster before any competition. It is a form of interval training, performed in short anaerobic bursts with fewer and briefer rest periods. It is considered to be the most effective cardio exercise that can be performed under 30 minutes almost anywhere.

If you want to stop sacrificing your sacred time on the treadmill, read below to learn how HIIT can help you achieve your desired lean body.

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training means performing a short number of bursts of intense exercise, such as biking, sprinting, swimming, skipping rope, knee highs, followed by short recovery periods, such as walking. The purpose of the short recovery period is to bring your heart rate back to normal before performing the next anaerobic burst.

This is different than regular endurance exercise as the routine never allows your body to adjust to one intensity level, giving your body the shock it needs to start using the fat as fuel for your workout. Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running on the treadmill for a consistent time at a consistent speed, causes muscle catabolism, the breakdown of muscle tissue, creating the ‘skinny fat’ look that many wish to stay away from. Muscle catabolism can even last up to 7 days after the steady-state cardio took place.

How Do You Perform HIIT?

The beauty of HIIT is that you can customize it to your body type and needs and still get results. I don’t recommend jumping right into HIIT as it can take a toll on those who have heart conditions or early signs of arthritis, so please consult your doctor first to see if this is right for you.

If you decide that you want to try HIIT, first figure out the type of cardiovascular exercise that you like best. Here is a list of some common exercises that are used for HIIT training:

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  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Jumping Rope
  • Running up Stairs
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Knee-ups
  • Jumping Jacks

HIIT can also be performed with kettle bells, yoga balls, and various other equipment, but this is for the advanced folk.

Jim Stoppanl, Ph.D. from BodyBuilding.com has the best beginner’s plan for HIIT training:

Phase 1 - HIIT Training

    Phase 2 - HIIT Training

      Phase 3 -HIIT Training

        Phase 4 - HIIT Training

          Now onto the HIIT benefits!

          1. Burns Fat Faster & Longer

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          Burn up to 48 hours of fat after a HIIT exercise

            A 2001 study from East Tennessee State University concluded that subjects who followed an 8-week HIIT program, dropped 2% in body fat compared to the 0% that was dropped by subjects that underwent a continuous steady-state program. The same study also stated that the subject who followed the above program burned almost 100 more calories per day during the 24-hours after each exercise.

            Regular steady-state cardiovascular exercise helps you burn calories during your workout, but with HIIT, you can burn calories just by sitting or sleeping after you have finished a workout! It is no wonder that so many athletes and fitness fanatics are using HIIT to their advantage and shedding off the last pounds of weight before any competition. However, you don’t need to be a participant of a competition to have a reason to start HIIT training – think of bathing suit season, the next big birthday party, a wedding or just your health.

            2. Saves You Time 

            Fast fat loss results with HIIT

              You can find them at almost any gym, on a treadmill or elliptical, running at the same speed four to five times a week hoping to reach their weight loss goals. They look miserable, tired and mentally exhausted from performing the same thing over and over again with very little result. Then you step up on the said treadmill and press the big green button to initiate the repetitive routine you call exercise. The term that is generally associated with people who cannot seem to cut the cord from the aerobic machines is cardio bunny. If you are sweating your life away on any cardio machine, four to five times a week, 30-60 minutes per day – please STOP. You are only damaging yourself and wasting your time.

              The general excuse of not having enough time for exercise goes out the window as HIIT can be tailored to your time limit while burning fat every single time you perform the routine. This means that you do not have to spend hours on the elliptical, instead performing HIIT three times a week maximum for about 14-25 minutes is enough to give you results while drastically improving your general well-being.

              3. Location Does NOT Matter

              Perform HIIT virtually anywhere, no need for a gym membership

                Have a track next to your house? How about a swimming pool or a stadium? Do you have some extra space in your living room, or how about your basement? High Intensity Interval Training can be performed absolutely anywhere!

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                If there’s a deadly snow storm outside and you don’t want to make the trip to the gym – no problem! Simply put on some comfortable working-out clothes and start doing HIIT right at home. You do you not need that treadmill or elliptical that’s covered in dust in your garage or any fancy workout equipment, just use your body to perform the HIIT exercises and you’ll be sweating in no time.

                Also, since there are no limits in terms of gear, you can switch up your routine every two weeks to ensure that you will NOT be bored. After all, boredom and repetition are a major reason why many of us stop going to the gym in the first place.

                4. Endurance

                 

                HIIT helps you perform better in long term runs

                  Though there is a vast amount of skeptical research out there, for the most part, athletes, competitors and trainers vouch for HIIT as a great way to quickly increase endurance. Endurance is particularly important if you’re planning on running in a long race, training for obstacle races or if you’re tired of being tired after going up a flight of stairs. This is a great way to make your body use to short bursts of energy that occur after a sedative state. For example, catching up with a bus that you’ve almost missed, playing with kids, chasing your dog down the street after it spotted a cat. If you are experiencing a shortness of breath, dizziness and muscle cramps as soon as you start doing something active, then slowly incorporating HIIT into your regular schedule is something for you.

                  5. Preserves Muscle Mass

                  Save your lean muscle with HIIT

                    If you want a lean body that has some definition, then doing continuous steady-state cardio is not going to give you the results you want. HIIT decreases the chances that your body will use your muscles as fuel, therefore preserves your lean mass, something that does not happen if you engage in regular cardio sessions. By conserving your muscles, you will maintain your strength while improving your endurance.

                    In fact, a Laval University study concluded that in addition to a decrease in body fat after a HIIT training program, the subjects’ muscle fibers had substantial higher markers for fat burning than those in the steady-state exercise group. So remember, being a cardio bunny will help you burn calories but you will always be disappointed at the results as a dip in the scale will mean a decrease in muscle mass not body fat.

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                    6. Faster Results Than Traditional Cardio

                     

                    Fast weight loss results with HIIT

                      When comparing steady-state cardio to high intensity interval training, I like to use the following example. Imagine you’re in traffic and you’re moving inch by inch, always revving that engine in frustration, sometimes even fully turning off the engine and back on out of sheer boredom. What happens to the gas? You use up way more than a car that is driving at a steady state from point A to point B. This is the same idea with HIIT. Since you are constantly stopping and going and pushing yourself to the maximum, you are using way more energy than someone who is running at 5 miles an hour for 30 minutes, therefore speeding up your metabolism. HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone by 450 percent during the 24 hours after you complete your workout. Hence, you burn more calories, shredding the fat much faster and more effectively than traditional cardio.

                      However, if you think that you can get the results you want without changing your diet, think again. HIIT is most effective when paired with a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, lean meat and enriched carbohydrates. Eating a burger a day will certainly diminish any results achieved with a proper HIIT program. For faster results, incorporate weight training 3 times a week along with 2-3 HIIT work-outs.

                      Conclusion

                      Following the latest fad diet or mindlessly moving on that treadmill that we all so love to hate will not get you the body that you desire. High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to increase your performance, shred that unwanted body weight and save you time and patience. We all have it in us to achieve the things that we desire — our health should not be an exception. 

                      Featured photo credit: Nicola Albertini via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                      Feeling tired all the time?

                      Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                      I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                      Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                      If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                      In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                      What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                      If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                      Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                      • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                      • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                      • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                      • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                      • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                      • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                      • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                      Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                      Unfortunately, yes!

                      Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                      Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                      Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                      Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                      Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                      Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                      1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                      2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                      3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                      The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                      It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                      Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                      Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                      If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                      Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                      Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                      But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                      Symptoms of fatigue include:

                      • Difficulty concentrating
                      • Low stamina
                      • Difficulty sleeping
                      • Anxiety
                      • Low motivation

                      These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                      Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                      How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                      The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                      Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                      So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                      The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                      Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                      Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                      If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                      And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                      It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                      4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                      Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                      1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                      2. Exercising regularly
                      3. Using stressbusters
                      4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                      So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                      After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                      In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                      I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                      Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                      • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                      • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                      • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                      • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                      The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                      And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                      But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                      L — Living Healthy

                      Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                      So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                      In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                      As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                      Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                      1. Unplug

                      Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                      So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                      2. Unwind

                      Do something to relax.

                      Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                      3. Get Comfortable

                      Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                      Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                      Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                      Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                      If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                      Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                      This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                      E — Exercise

                      Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                      That’s what happened in my case.

                      But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                      As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                      My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                      That made sense to me.

                      So, I decided to swim.

                      I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                      Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                      Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                      So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                      If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                      A — Attitude

                      Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                      When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                      Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                      Breathing.

                      But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                      Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                      1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                      2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                      3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                      4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                      5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                      6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                      This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                      When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                      Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                      N — Nutrition

                      Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                      If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                      Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                      For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                      Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                      Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                      1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                      2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                      3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                      4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                      5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                      6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                      7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                      8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                      9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                      Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                      That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                      Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                      The Bottom Line

                      If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                      If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                      If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                      • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                      • Regular Exercise You Love
                      • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                      • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                      Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                      More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                      Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                      [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                      [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                      [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                      [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                      [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                      [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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