By Anja Trenkwalder
Elm Staff Writer
By now, we are all too familiar with college stress. With classes, homework, assignments, clubs and social life, college students are constantly under stress. A stressful, and mainly sedentary lifestyle makes it even more important to get active in order to stay healthy. It can be very challenging to squeeze in an occasional workout. Who has time to hit the gym for an hour or two every day to get an intense workout in? Most people certainly don’t, but there is good news: You don’t have to.
While it does seem logical to assume that a long, steady cardio session will do the trick, scientists and successful sportsmen and women argue that there is a different, much more effective strategy of triggering fat-loss: HIIT, short for “High Intensity Interval Training.” It is a short, but challenging workout performed on a stationary bike, that involves alternating between short, and highly rigorous intervals and moderate, intense recovery periods. “Because you never allow your heart rate to completely calm down between intervals, HIIT scorches a maximum amount of calories in minimum time,” says Dr. Jim Stoppani, a leading athletic authority who is an enthusiastic advocate of the HIIT training system. He stresses that regular weight training, paired with three to four 20 to 30 minute HIIT sessions a week is “the ideal way to lose body fat, build muscle, and achieve a lean and sexy physique.”
The following sample HIIT Program provides you with an intense fat-burning workout that will give you an effective jump-start into the world of effective and speedy weight loss. This specific workout will take you only 25 minutes to complete – that is less than four percent of your day. Nevertheless, HIIT is guaranteed to work up the sweat, and will easily burn off 200-250 calories, depending on speed. So jump onto your (stationary) bike and get spinning.
While the high-intensity periods may be rather challenging for beginners, you can opt to downgrade the intensity according to your individual needs. It is important, however, to push yourself as hard as possible during the high intensity intervals, in order to push the effects of your workout towards a maximum. The following low-intensity periods will allow your body some time to recover, and get ready for the next high-intensity interval.
However one cannot stress it enough: Never overdo it. If you feel faint, dizzy, or sick, stop immediately. These symptoms are usually a warning sign that your body cannot handle much more. Take a few sips of water, sit down and rest.
As in any training, in HIIT it is especially essential to stay well hydrated. Make sure to bring a bottle of water or electrolyte drinks, and take a couple of big gulps at least during all of the recovery periods. After, cool-down you should treat yourself with a high-protein, high-carb snack such as yogurt with fruit, an apple with peanut butter, or a protein shake. This will ensure ideal conditions for muscle regeneration and will keep your metabolism running.