If you want to lose fat, preserve muscle, and improve your conditioning, then you want to include HIIT in your routine.
SO WHAT IS HIIT?
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an advanced form of interval training and an exercise strategy alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.
In plain English, that basically means you’ll be working as hard as humanly possible for a short amount of time, resting, then working hard again. An entire HIIT session usually only lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes.
WHY SHOULD YOU DO HIIT?
As with anything there are many reasons why so many people are starting to train this way and why it’s so beneficial. But number one is its capacity to severely increase your metabolic rate and, with this, your ability to burn more fat as fuel, not only during exercise but after exercise. Yes that’s right – HIIT can affect your body uses fuel throughout the day, not just when you exercise.
Let’s face it: most people aren’t really fans of long, monotonous exercise. I know I’m not.
Still, it’s impossible to go to a gym that’s not packed with people spending hours at a time on the various treadmills and elliptical machines. Yet most of them aren’t there because they enjoy it. They’re there because they think it’s the most efficient way to burn fat and lose weight.
But here’s the thing: they’re wrong.
Because while the cardio machines may tell you you’re staying in the ‘fat burning zone’ when you’re running at 5.5 mph for 60 minutes, the truth is you’re burning less calories overall than if you worked harder for a shorter amount of time.
Yes, it’s true—you can actually burn more fat and calories when you work out for less time instead of more.
Because with high intensity interval training, you’ll actually burn calories more efficiently than you would running for hours, and it takes way less time to complete.
Pretty awesome, right?
So, for example, a sample HIIT workout might consist of 18 rounds of 10 and 30 seconds (where 10 seconds is the resting period, and 30 seconds is the work period), and include the following exercises:
2. Push ups
3. High knees w/ jump rope
4. Pull ups
5. Jump lunges
6. Knee raises
In this workout, you’d end up doing three rounds of all those exercises, for a total of just 12 minutes of working out.
The only trick to HIIT? You have to work as hard as you possibly can during the work periods, or you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
*Here are top reasons to love HIIT:
1) HIIT Helps Curb Cravings
The overeating is the biggest enemy of fat loss and the biggest temptations to overeat are hunger and cravings.
This becomes particularly problematic as you get leaner and your “margins for error” with your calorie intake become very slim.
Well, while the claim that low-intensity cardio stimulates the appetite and leads to greater food intake is probably not true, research shows that HIIT in particular can cause changes in the brain that decrease hunger and the desire to eat and increase fullness from food eaten.
Anything that improves dietary compliance is a boon to your fat loss regimen, and HIIT does just that.
2) HIIT Burns More Fat In Less Time
If a supplement or workout or claims to be a “shortcut” for gaining muscle or losing fat, it’s likely a sham.
Well, high-intensity interval training actually delivers the goods. It’s significantly more time effective for losing fat than traditional “low-intensity steady-state” cardio (LISS).
For example, this study conducted by researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that people lost more fat doing 4 to 6 30-second sprints (with 4-minute rest periods) than 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking.
If you do the math here, that’s pretty impressive. 17 to 27 minutes of high-intensity interval training resulted in more fat loss than 60 minutes of traditional bodybuilder cardio. This wasn’t a one-off occurrence, either–these results have been replicated in quite a few other studies as well.
The science is clear: if your goal is to burn as much fat in as little time as possible, then HIIT is the way to go.
Although the exact mechanisms behind this advantage aren’t fully understood yet, scientists have isolated several factors. Research shows that HIIT…
- increases your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours,
- improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles, which helps your body better absorb and use the food you eat (rather than store it as fat),
- increases your muscles’ ability to burn fat for energy,
- elevates growth hormone levels, which aids in fat loss,
- spikes catecholamine levels, which are chemicals that mobilize fat for burning,
- and decreases post-exercise appetite, which helps prevent overeating.
3) HIIT Push Your Limits
HIIT forces you to work harder than you ever thought possible.
It gives you the confidence you never knew you needed. It makes you stronger and fitter than ever before.
HIIT pushes your limits until you feel like you can really, truly conquer the world.