Why You Should Try a 20-Minute HIIT Workout


Picture this scene: a large room filled with people on elliptical machines, all of whom are robotically staring at screens and monitoring how many calories they've burned. 

Does this sound like your gym? Are you one of those people?

If you're an active participant on the cardio machines, but you're not seeing the results you want, it may be time to try something new.

Steady-State Exercises

Steady-state exercises such as long, slow runs help you improve your endurance and aerobic engine. These workouts are ideal for marathon or Ironman training, but you're also breaking down muscle tissue.

You can lose weight with steady-state exercises if you watch your diet, but the efficiency of your workouts can drop, and you're likely to hit a plateau. If this occurs, adjusting the intensity can be the change you need.

HIIT Workouts

With high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, you may be able to get more fat-burning, muscle-toning and sweat-dripping results than steady-state exercises provide.

HIIT workouts involve alternating high-intensity intervals (usually between 30 and 90 seconds) with low- to moderate-intensity intervals. Although these workouts can be applied to nearly any type of cardio exercise, it's recommended to alternate cardio intervals with strength training.

The key is a cardio burst, which allows you to simultaneously strengthen your aerobic and anaerobic endurance, leading to a leaner body with a higher cardiac output. The workouts can also result in what some trainers call an "afterburn," or the slight rise of your metabolism for hours after you stop exercising because you're burning more calories throughout the day.

Steady-state exercises such as long, slow runs help you improve your endurance and aerobic engine. These workouts are ideal for marathon or Ironman training, but you're also breaking down muscle tissue. You can lose weight with steady-state exercises if you watch your diet, but the efficiency of your workouts can drop, and you're likely to hit a plateau.

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About the Author

Susan Grant Legacki

Susan Grant Legacki is the founding editor of LAVA Magazine, and currently serves as the magazine's features and online editor. Prior to joining LAVA, she worked as a Senior Editor at Inside Triathlon and Triathlete Magazine. She is an Ironman finisher, Boston-qualifying marathoner, certified Pilates instructor—and a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. You can read more about her on Susanegrant.com and follow her on Twitter at @susanglegacki.

Susan Grant Legacki is the founding editor of LAVA Magazine, and currently serves as the magazine's features and online editor. Prior to joining LAVA, she worked as a Senior Editor at Inside Triathlon and Triathlete Magazine. She is an Ironman finisher, Boston-qualifying marathoner, certified Pilates instructor—and a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. You can read more about her on Susanegrant.com and follow her on Twitter at @susanglegacki.

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