If you're a recreational athlete in hopes of running or cycling better, a type of interval training called HIIT claims to be scientifically proven to get you there -- but by shorter, more intense efforts lasting as little as 20 minutes.
The HIIT workout, which means high-intensity interval training, has benefits "outlined in an avalanche of scientific papers," writes Wired magazine this weekend. While not new, the HIIT workout is a buzzword in the fitness world, with a slew of videos and websites devoted to quick, fuss-free workouts that promise to burn up fat and build muscle using simple plyometric exercises, track drills, and bootcamp sessions all following the HIIT principle. Here's a sample: youtube.com/watch?v=_Ov-lSkpOyI&
And according to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just two weeks of high-intensity intervals was found to improve your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training.
If you want to give it a try, one popular HIIT workout designed by researcher Izumi Tabata involves the following: after a 10-minute warmup, you alternative between 20 seconds of intense effort, as fast as you can go, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for eight cycles. After a quick cooldown, the workout should eat up about 20 minutes of your time.
Learn more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/551914-hiit-vs-long-workouts/