thanksgiving-fitness-caloriesWere you among the Americans who consumed 4,500 calories during your Thanksgiving meal? Whether you overindulged or exercised control at the buffet table, you might want to “HIIT” (High Intensity Interval Training) the gym this holiday season.

After exercise, we experience something called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). Even though we’ve stopped exercising, the body continues to consume increased amounts of oxygen and uses it to restore the body to a resting state. EPOC is often referred to as “after-burn” because you continue burning calories at a higher rate post-exercise.

Current research shows HIIT is one of the best ways to capitalize on EPOC. HIIT is number one on the ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) 2014 Top Fitness Trends Survey. When performing HIIT, you push your heart rate upward (past the anaerobic threshold) for a set amount of time followed by a period of recovery. This can be accomplished through any means of cardio or resistance training including:Tabata-workout

HIIT workouts don’t have to be long to be effective…a bonus during this busy holiday season. One 20-minute form of HIIT is called Tabata. The name comes from researcher Izumi Tabata, who analyzed the training protocol of the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating team in 1996. An ACE (American Council on Exercise) commissioned study on Tabata determined these brief workouts are very effective when performed 2 to 3 times per week. However, researchers also cautioned these high intensity levels might not be appropriate for new or unconditioned exercisers.

Short on time but craving more from your workouts this holiday season? Consider asking Santa for HIIT!

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