An average HIIT workout consists of short bursts of vigorous activity followed by less vigorous exertion. That is the core principle behind an HIIT workout. Whether you are a professional athlete or not, you need to do HIIT. It is the most effective use of your time in the gym for fat loss. There are studies that compared HIIT to steady-state cardio and the results weren’t very surprising.
High-Intensity Interval Training – It Works Like Hell
In East Tennessee State University, an 8-week long study was done to see whether HIIT workouts were more effective than steady-state cardio. There was a group doing HIIT vs a group doing steady-state cardio. The HIIT subjects dropped 2% body fat, while the steady state group lost no body fat. HIIT exercises work better because they stimulate muscle growth, creating more glucose metabolism and actually increasing insulin sensitivity.
If we take an argument from nature, we can easily point out why an HIIT workout burn more fat. The “human hunter” argument explains that humans are known as “persistent hunters”. The idea being that we can track and follow animals for long periods of time. Since, our hunting wasn’t done in quick fire bursts, our bodies preserved more energy for a lot longer by running at a constant speed.
This means we use less energy over a longer period at less intensity, than a shorter time with higher intensity. This is definitely a good thing. The more inefficient your body is at something, the harder it has to work. This means, more results, quicker.
Why is it better?
You need oxygen for every movement you do (surprise surprise). The harder the movement, the more oxygen you need. That is why you start panting when you run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) causes your body to use more oxygen after exercise to be able to deliver all of the required nutrients to your muscles. Over time your body adapts to and becomes better at “handling” oxygen. That’s how an HIIT workout can help you become more fit, by increasing your maximal oxygen consumption. This means you will be able to use more oxygen during your exercise sessions, and train with more intensity.
Combine this with what is called “Afterburn” and you have created a fat burning furnace in your body. Afterburn is when your body starts burning more calories after you finish exercising than if you have not exercised at all. So that next episode of Game of Thrones you are going to watch will use much more energy than normally it would. All of this together make sure that you become fitter, leaner and stronger.
HIIT Workout – Destroys Fat, Lowers Insulin Resistance and Builds Muscle
Since the exertion required to do an HIIT workout is very high, your body will begin to burn incredibly high amounts of calories. Added to this, your body starts to utilize fat as energy for the high demands placed by doing an HIIT workout. Combine this with a release of Growth Hormone and the result is muscle growth and fat loss.
Blood sugar levels are one of those things that people don’t worry about until something goes wrong. However, they can have an effect on how insulin is released and used by your body. HIIT has been shown to drastically help regulate blood sugar levels. A Canadian research team showed that after only one session of an HIIT workout, regulation of blood sugar was improved in patients suffering from Type II diabetes. Imagine what three times per week for a whole year can do! This isn’t just only useful for people with insulin problems, it is useful for everyone since insulin is also responsible for delivering the needed nutrients to your muscles.
Another benefit of High-Intensity Interval Training is that it raises your Basal Metabolic rate, which is defined as:
So this means that doing nothing burns more fat in someone who does HIIT training compared with someone who doesn’t. To illustrate this, imagine a car with very high miles per gallon (A Toyota) and compare it with a Lamborghini. A Lamborghini burns through fuel a lot quicker than a Toyota, a Lamborghini goes faster and a Lamborghini looks much sexier. You can train to either be a Lamborghini a Toyota! It’s your choice!
Want to get started? Of course you do. Stick with an HIIT training program for 30 days, and see how much you change.
Need some inspiration?
Try this. Pick a movement, e.g. sprinting, or rowing.
- Work as hard as you can for 20 seconds
- Rest for 40 seconds
- Repeat 8-12 times
You can change the “work” and “rest” times to suit your fitness levels. Over time make the “work” periods longer, and the “rest” periods shorter. So you might want to be able to “work” for 30 seconds, and rest for 30 seconds. Keep challenging yourself. This doesn’t just have to be limited to running, or rowing, or swimming. It could be anything. Try a circuit of different compound movements. For example:
- 20 KettleBell Swings
- Rest 20 seconds
- 10 Medicine ball slams
- Rest 20 seconds
- 25 Squat Jumps
- Rest 20 Seconds
Then REPEAT. You can be creative, and have fun with these HIIT workouts. They are short, they are effective. So get going!