What if I told you that you could burn more fat, build lean muscle, and save time in the gym by doing less cardio? Well, with HIIT or (High Intensity Interval Training), you can! HIIT is a type of cardio training in which you alternate short, very high intensity intervals with longer, slower intervals to recover. This type of training has been used by athletes to improve performance, but it’s also been shown to benefit the average exerciser. HIIT training not only helps performance, it also improves the ability of the muscles to burn fat. In the hustle and bustle of today’s jam-packed schedule, our once firmly adapted fitness routine can go straight out the window. With the pressure to meet all of our daily requirements to our families and jobs, our goals get the back seat. Well, grab a hold of your fitness goals because I’m going to explain some amazing benefits of HIIT that will get you back on track or on a new road to fit.
Are you guilty of spending a lot of time running nowhere on the treadmill? Listen to this: Exercise physiologists used to believe that steady-state cardio was superior for fat loss because relatively more fat is used by the body as fuel at lower exercise intensities than at higher intensities. The “Fat-Burning Zone” shown on most cardio equipment as only 60%-65% of max heart rate is really a myth and is NOT optimal for burning fat. This is what drove lots of women to spend hours on the treadmill a week! Yes, you burn more fat relative to glycogen when going for a walk, but what we care about is total fat burn. At higher intensities, you are burning far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. In addition, HIIT allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat.
As an added bonus, there’s also an after burn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You increase your metabolism and burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns almost NO calories after. Who wouldn’t want to burn more for less time working out? This is why HIIT is known for its results in fat loss.
Saves time and money
The beautiful thing about HITT is it can be done in the comfort of your own home, outside or even at a hotel while traveling. The exercises that can be performed during HIIT are endless. All you need is your body weight to get in a good workout with no equipment required. Exercises like, running, biking, jump roping, and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you don’t need any equipment to get it done. High knees, pop squats, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast! This makes it perfect for those who can’t get to the gym. With HIIT, you will be working harder than you normally work, but for about a quarter to a half of the time. Twenty minutes of this hard core training will leave you sweaty. If you are used to performing 60 minutes of cardio you save 40 minutes and get double the benefits!
Preserves hard earn muscle
Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady-state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Especially when adapting a lower calories diet, our bodies can experience a negative responses which is loss of muscle as well as fat. This ultimately lowers the person’s metabolic rate, which is not ideal for someone looking to burn fat. HIIT workouts along with weight training have been shown to preserve muscles mass ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores. You aren’t spending enough time to breakdown muscles fibers while performing HIIT. Another huge bonus: The more muscle we have, the higher our metabolism.
There are many more positive benefits that come from interval training, the list goes on. Benefits range from a healthier heart to increasing lung power, increased metabolism and even agility. No matter what training routine you are in currently, give HIIT a try, you won’t be disappointed with the results!