By MuscleShred.com

Is that six pack of yours hiding beneath a layer of belly fat? Curious as to one of the best ways to get rid of that layer? You might have heard of it: High Intensity Interval Training.

HIIT is a type of cardio that is really gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping. It is one of the most effective ways to see that last layer of fat vanish from your body so you can reveal your tight, toned muscles.

INTERVAL TRAINING

Interval training is a form of exercise where you do a short period of high intensity exercise followed by a short period of low intensity exercise. You can repeat the intervals for as long as you want. An example of interval training would be alternating between walking and running on the treadmill or outside at the track.

INTENSITIES

How do you define high intensity and low intensity? Well, it varies from person to person. It all depends on your fitness level: Walking at a fast paced level could be high intensity but for someone else it could be sprinting 100 meters. A great way to measure the intensity of your cardio workout is the talk test. When working at a low intensity, you should be able to carry a conversation. You should not be winded nor out of breath. When working at a high intensity, you should not be able to carry a conversation. During high intensity intervals, you should avoid talking and focus on your breathing.

THE AFTER BURN

One of the greatest things about high intensity interval training is the after burn. And by after burn, I am talking about calories.

The fancy name for after burn is excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). You not only burn a ton of calories during your workout, but you also burn more calories after, even while you are sleeping.

High Intensity Interval Training changes your body's calorie burning capabilities. Have you ever heard someone say that you will burn more calories at rest even after you exercise? Well, this is what they were talking about.

What happens is that your body tries to get back to the way it was before you began exercising. After HIIT, it takes your body a lot longer to recover than it would from regular exercise, which helps burn more calories.

IMPROVE YOUR ENDURANCE

HIIT is a great approach to exercise for those who participate in sports because it mimics the starting and stopping action. For example, in football, you could be sprinting down the field (the high intensity part) and then the whistle will blow and you will stop and walk back to your team (the low intensity part) and you will repeat this throughout the game. This type of training helps improve your speed, endurance and agility and will get your body ready for your next big game.

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IT'S NOT FOR EVERYONE

Although you can cater your HIIT workout to your own personal exercise level, the majority of people who practice high intensity interval training are more advanced. If you are new to exercise in general, it is best to get a feel for steady-state cardio before advancing to HIIT.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR HIIT WORKOUT LAST?

One of the greatest things about HIIT is that it's generally a short workout. They usually are about 20-30 minute workouts. Some can be shorter, others longer ... it all depends on your fitness level and what you are capable of, or feel comfortable doing. An important reminder is to not do this every day. Your body works at such a high intensity that you need adequate rest in between. It is recommended to do your HIIT every other day or about threedays per week. Over time, you will see yourself slowly progressing. Once you get the hang of the interval training, you can begin to up your intensity by either moving at a faster pace or increasing your interval times.

Now that you are familiar with high intensity interval training, go out and give it a shot. It could become a great addition to your current routine or it altogether. Remember, if you are new to this type of training, take it slow. You are at a higher risk for injury when your exercise intensity is that high. If you are new to interval training all together, begin with a simple walk -- jog routine. Walk for a minute, jog for a minute, run for a minute. Allow your body to get used to the changes in the intensity level. With interval training, what you're doing is in a sense "shocking" your body (in a good way).

Don't walk away from this article thinking that you are going to achieve all of your weight loss goals by only participating in HIIT. Nutrition and weight training are also a very important part of your lifestyle to lose the fat for good. The best way to be successful in losing body fat is to mix it up from time to time. If you have been performing the same gym routine for the past year and have come to a plateau, this is an excellent program to add. To make your body a fat burning machine, you have to incorporate high intensity exercise.

Remember to drink a lot of water throughout this workout and take it slow. It's always best to begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. The majority of HIIT workouts focus on sprinting, which requires a lot of energy from your legs so make sure that your muscles are warm and flexible so they can perform at their very best.

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