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Use High Intensity Intervals To Lose Weight

It wasn’t too long ago that I was writing an article for popularfitness.com detailing the different types of indoor bike trainers on the market.  Since that time, our Spring, Summer and most of Fall have come and gone.

The season to do some indoor riding will be soon upon us, and I’d like to outline a style of cycling that will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’. 

It's called High Intensity Interval Training, 'HIIT' for short.

While HIIT isn’t exclusive to cycling, it is a mainstay in a rider’s repertoire. Many of my winter rides involve attaching my bike to a bicycle trainer and tapping out a HIIT workout indoors.

If you aren’t using 'intervals', you’re missing out on a very powerful training style.

After all, marathoners, swimmers, and of course cyclists have been using HIIT for decades.  Perhaps it’s time for you to consider it, too.

What's This HIIT Buzz All About?

Most exercisers are familiar with the concept of cardiovascular (cardio) training.  That's the type of workout that is done at a constant level of effort.  While you're getting more and more tired as the workout progresses, you're able to sustain the effort until the end of the session.

Not so with HIIT.

When doing HIIT workouts, there are a series of efforts mixed into the session that could never be sustained until the end.  By forcing your body work at such a high intensity, fitness is achieved more quickly, and very importantly for those seeking to lose weight, body weight melts off in less time than when using a strictly aerobic approach.

HIIT And Weight Loss

There was a period of time in my fitness life during which nearly all of my workouts consisted of steady running at an aerobic intensity.  I noticed that over the course of a few years my weight was inching upward.

But when my kids started competitive running, I joined them on some very intense 'hill repeats'.  These workouts entailed running as hard as possible up a 300 meter hill and recovering on the way down.  The circuit was repeated 10 times.

It wasn't long until my body weight started to edge downward instead of inching up.

The key was what was happening after the workout.  Once I'd get home, I'd notice that my pulse would be elevated 15 to 20 beats above my normal resting heart rate for several hours after the workout.

I was getting 'free' fat-burning time.

An Example Of HIIT?

Lately most of my HIIT workouts have been on a Kinetic fluid trainer, but riding on a CycleOps fluid trainer is just as effective.

Here's what a sample HIIT cycling workout on a bike trainer stand looks like- 
  • 10 minutes easy warm-up.
  • 5 minutes hard pedaling, followed by two and a half minutes easy pedaling.
  • 4 minutes hard pedaling, followed by two minutes easy pedaling.
  • 3 minutes hard pedaling, followed by one and a half minutes easy pedaling.
  • 2 minutes hard pedaling, followed by one minute easy pedaling.
  • 1 minute hard pedaling.
  • 10 minutes easy warm-down.
When I do a workout like this, I gradually increase the level of intensity as the minutes of hard pedaling decrease...until I'm going just about 'all out' on the last one minute session.

Of course, you should be clearing any new exercise regimen with your doctor before starting up.  This is particularly a propos with HIIT workouts since they are so strenuous.

Add Variety And Lose Weight Using HIIT

Maybe it's time for you to add some spice to your workout routine by trying the 'hard-easy' style of interval training. 

You'll be getting more 'bang' for every hour you spend exercising and you'll probably appreciate the variation. 

Additionally, you'll find that any extra weight you're packing around will melt off much more quickly than if your fitness program consists of only cardio workouts.

Give High Intensity Interval Training a try real soon!

About the author:

Ron Fritzke reviews cycling gear on his site, Cycling-Review.com.  Besides his private Chiropractic practice, he's on the Sports Medicine team at the College of the Siskiyous.  A former 2:17 marathon runner, he now races his bike in Northern California.

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