Laura Jackson: There are various interval training methods, but the one that we have found most effective for weight loss and improving cardio is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT combines short intervals of maximum-intensity exercise — 30 seconds to two minutes — separated by longer intervals of moderately intense exercise. Because it involves briefly pushing yourself to the max of your aerobic exercise zone, it is more effective than doing a steady state of exercise where you keep your heart rate within your aerobic zone, as in 45 minutes at the same speed on the elliptical trainer.
Laura Jackson: Even though elite athletes have been using this technique for years to increase their endurance and fat-burning potential, any person can do this. Just start off slow. Combine 30 seconds of running intervals with four to five minutes of power walking. As you get stronger, increase the amount of time that you complete the higher-intensity intervals.
Laura Jackson: I personally love interval training for so many reasons. Not only does it burn a ton of calories in the shortest amount of time, but you never get bored. This type of training is super-fun and keeps your mind and body challenged because you are always changing the exercises — hill runs, frog jumps, sprints. Plus, this is the only type of training that really pushes people out of their exercise comfort zone so you get the fastest results and avoid the dreaded weight-loss plateaus.
Laura Jackson: One of the major benefits that a lot of people don't mention is that studies have shown that HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, compared with doing a steady state of exercise for longer periods. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even when doing nothing — so you definitely don't want to lose any of that.
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