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How to Do Interval Training on a Treadmill?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the one of the more recent popular trends when it comes to effective exercise programs.  HIIT is composed of a short interval of high intensity exercise followed by a somewhat longer interval of low intensity exercise that acts as a recovery period.  Alternating the high intensity and recovery intervals repeatedly can allow a short workout period to provide enhanced health benefits.  These benefits can include an increase in calories burned, a raised metabolism long after the exercise is finished and muscle gain as well as reductions in visceral fat, blood pressure, blood sugar levels.  There are many different ways you can do HIIT training including using gym equipment such as the treadmill.  If you want to learn how to do interval training on a treadmill, check out this article.

How Does HIIT Affect the Body?

The high intensity portions of HIIT, where the exerciser is working at close to 100% capacity, causes fast twitch muscles to fire.  These types of muscle tissues work in quick bursts without the need for oxygen.  When oxygen isn’t available, lactic acid and adrenaline are produced which results in a large spike in burned calories.  After an HIIT workout, the body tries to make up for the previous lack of oxygen by maintaining an elevated rate of metabolism.  This is known as the after burn effect and it can last for up to 48 hours after your workout.  As it recovers, your body continues to burn calories and fat long after the exercise has finished. 

High Intensity Versus Steady Paced Workouts

It’s been found that your body will burn more calories and fat after HIIT than it will during a steady paced workout.  By pushing your body to close to 100% effort for very short periods of time, you’ll receive more benefits more quickly than if you’re exerting 50 or 60% effort for much longer periods of time.  The longer your body goes into recovery mode, the more fat and calories it will burn.  So far, it’s been found that HIIT is the most effective way to increase the length of this recovery period.

Setting Up HIIT On Your Treadmill

You’ll need to experiment a bit when first starting out with HIIT on your treadmill.  Finding out the correct speeds and inclines that will bring you close to 100% effort will be different for every person.  You’ll need to find a speed and incline combination where you’re unable to keep your top pace for more than a minute.  If you’re new to the treadmill try running at five miles per hour with no incline and see if you can keep it going for a minute.  If this is too easy, start ratcheting up the speed and/or incline until you find your maximum effort baseline.

Once you’ve figured out your high intensity interval, you’ll need to determine your recovery interval.  This should be at a slow enough pace to allow you to catch your breath and be ready to go full out again after a minute or two.  Depending on your fitness levels this might be a two mile per hour walk or a four mile per hour jog with a slight incline. 

Once you’ve discovered both your high intensity and recovery intervals you should attempt to complete six to eight cycles.   Each cycle is composed of a one minute high intensity interval followed by a one to two minute recovery interval. 

A HIIT session that lasts less than a half hour will typically burn more calories and fat than a steady paced workout that lasts more than twice as long.  This is one of the main reasons these types of workouts are so popular.

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