Fire-Up Your Furnace:Metabolic Conditioning for the Holidays!

Holiday season is quickly approaching and everyone is afraid of dropping their fitness routine or falling of the diet band-wagon, but what if you could fit in a quick 15-20 minute routine to fuel your fat burning fire? You could keep the weight off, energy levels up, and increase your speed and endurance in time for the Black Friday battle! All of the latest research in Fitness points to HIIT for amazing results; read on for the reasons…

What is HIIT? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is a type of exercise that requires the participant to push themselves to an extremely intense level of difficulty (90% or higher of Heart Rate Max) for a short burst and then recover (about 40% Max Heart Rate) for a short duration following each set. This is more taxing on your energy systems than an aerobic workout, but only for a short time and then allows you to rest before the next set so that the next set can be performed again at a high intensity. The best ways to increase the difficulty during HIIT training is actually to increase speed and intensity of your exercises and not the duration of the set. This creates a high energy demand (burning those calories!) and saves you time.

So what does HIIT do for your body that the elliptical can’t? Not only does anaerobic exercise burn higher amounts of calories but also leads to increases in strength. Mitochondria are like little fat burning fires and when HIIT training you can increase the density by 35% and their ability to reproduce by 15-50%. Consistency; not duration is the key to a fast metabolism. By regularly training, your mitochondria actually adapt to burn fat easier over time.  What does that mean for your body? Less body fat and higher percent of lean muscle! The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you aren’t even working out! Adding muscles also helps to strengthen bones, joints, and tighten skin for a toned sexy look.  It’s no wonder why people who exercise regularly have a hard time GAINING MASS! Here’s a fun fact: Mitochondria can’t tell whether you are young or old, they are a completely separate organism that lives in your body; so the misconception that age slows your metabolism is completely false! Losing muscle and reducing exercise and activity are what slows your metabolism and causes premature aging on your body internally and externally.

Even though interval training is not considered a cardio workout you still reap all the benefits of a killer cardio session and here’s how: Increased size and strength of your heart, increased ability to pump blood out to the body and then send it back to the heart, and improved aerobic capacity in people with cardiovascular disease! If you finish your interval workout with a 5-10 minute cardio session you will dramatically increase your muscle recovery.

Who should be interval training? EVERYONE! There are a few things to be cautious of if you are new to exercise: start with an exercise period between 20-40 seconds and a recovery period of 80-160 seconds. It should be a 1:4 work to rest ratio. This will allow for complete recovery and help avoid injury from poor form or fatigue.  Do not use caffeine or stimulants that will mask fatigue when working at high intensities.  Increase your work period and decrease your rest period very gradually to prep your body for the next level.  You should always check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to begin an exercise program (especially something with high intensity).  The best calorie burn has been found when doing a 1:1 work to rest ratio. An example would be 30 second burpees with a 30 second rest following.


  1. Get started now!
  2. Stay consistent.
  3. Duration is not important; greater intensity= increased burn!
  4. Be safe! If you aren’t sure about your joint alignment or form, contact a certified personal trainer for pointers.
  5. Grab a buddy for motivation and fun.
  6. Remember: Abs are made in the gym but revealed in the kitchen. Go easy on the Halloween candy and pumpkin pie!

Kristi Worful, NASM CPT      (734) 757-0833

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