Published: Aug 17, 2012 7:32 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 17, 2012 7:47 AM EDT

They say that slow and steady wins the race, but if you're looking to rev up your fitness routine High Intensity Interval Training (also known as “HITT”) may be for you! This super-efficient workout is ideal for anyone, offering seasoned exercisers a new challenge, and new exercisers a quick way to see results. Wink News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here today with his reasons to give HITT a try today!
High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) is basically alternating between pushing your pace, and then slowing down to recover just long enough so you can push your pace again! Athletes have been doing this for years as it mimics most sports, start-and-stop motions with periods of sprinting speeds followed by light jogging or rest. BUT the technique is gaining popularity among general fitness buffs looking for big gains in a short amount of time. Some of the many benefits include:

 Save Time
 Pushing your cardiovascular system by adding intervals means you burn more calories in less time. By alternating between fast and slow, you can work out harder and longer, than if you were just pushing your max speed. Sessions usually last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes including a warm up and cool down which means spending less time at the gym and more time at the beach.

 Go Faster
 The most obvious benefit is that interval training will make you faster! Picking up your pace when training with intervals helps to increase your speed whether you run, bike, or swim
 Go longer
 Even though interval workouts might be shorter than your other workouts, this form of exercise will increase your endurance. Evidence shows that with HITT participants can increase maximum aerobic capacity (how well their body uses oxygen for energy at their greatest heart rate). The more oxygen your body can convert to energy, the stronger and faster you become. Long runs and rides will be easier if interval training is part of your regular exercise routine.

Works with All Forms of Cardio
HITT can be done with every kind of cardio exercise you do, be it running, biking, swimming, or cross-country skiing. AND you don't need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast. A great place to start is playing with your speed on the treadmill, elliptical, or rowing machine.

 Less Frequent

 Once you're ready to begin intervals, you should only do them every other day. It takes 24 to 48 hours to recover from intense interval workouts. That’s only 3 to 4 days per week!
 *Before taking your routine up a notch and risking injury, it's crucial to build a base fitness level first, typically doing 40 minutes of exercise three to four times a week for eight weeks, gradually working up to a higher heart rate level.
 Sample Running Interval

 For example when doing a running interval, start out with short 20 to 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 1 minute of low intensity.

 5 minute WARM-UP (light jog, low intensity, gradually increasing)
 1 minute moderate or high intensity followed by 1 minute low intensity (repeat 6 - 8 times) Rather than sprinting all out during the intense phases, do them at a strong pace you can sustain throughout.

 5 minute COOL-DOWN (light jog, low intensity, gradually decreasing)

 *The magic formula is pacing on all intervals. The last thing you want to do is go several seconds slower on the last few because you went too fast on the first ones.