When most people hear about fat loss with HIIT, they immediately think that it’s a fraud.
“How”, they ask, “can I spend less time working out and somehow burn more calories doing so?”
While HIIT may seem like a preposterous exercise fad, there’s a lot of real science and practical use by athletes that confirms it’s use.
High intensity interval training is a routine that’s been covered in Forbes, and has had numerous research papers published on it’s effectiveness, especially in increasing one’s resting metabolic rate (or RMR).
Additionally, HIIT isn’t some sort of miracle exercise: yes, you will see increased fat loss, and yes, you will work out less to see more results, but the thing is: it won’t necessarily be easier.
The “high intensity” aspect isn’t just in name only, and I would only advise those who are moderately healthy (have exercised recently, at least 1-2 days a week currently) to engage in HIIT training.
Well, now that we’ve got THAT out of the way, let’s talk about what HIIT is and why it works for effective fat loss.
HIIT Fat Loss
In addition to increasing RMR, interval training has been proven to enhance fat oxidation and improve glucose tolerance, especially for the following 24 hours after the workout.
Any good HIIT workout routine should be aware of this fact, as it is always advise to mix up HIIT training and regular cardio on alternate days, so that the full effect of HIIT can be felt the following day.
For best results with HIIT, you need to develop a HIIT program that will follow the guidelines outline below:
- Follow the 2:1 ratio for workout/rest (more on this later)
- Incorporate weight lifting
- Incorporate traditional cardio
Okay, so how does the 2:1 ratio work for HIIT exercises?
Simply enough you are going to want to double the amount of exercise vs. rest, no matter the amount of time used for either interval.
As an example: if you are going to do 1 minute of HIIT jump rope, then you are going to need to follow that session with 30 seconds of rest.
In order to receive the full benefits of HIIT, you are going to need to push yourself to the upper end of your limit (or your aerobic zone) and allow your body to replenish it’s anaerobic energy during the recover intervals.
That’s fancy talk for a very simple process: push yourself for about 1-2 minutes of exercise, followed by half the amount of rest.
Your total HIIT workout should go no longer than 30 minutes, it’s not the type of fitness routine that is meant to last a full hour, like running.
High intensity training allows you to burn a larger amount of calories after your full session because it increases the length of time that it takes for you body to recover from each successive session.
Basically, HIIT pushes your body, and the following 24 hours, your body expends more energy recovering, thus increasing your resting metabolic rate.
This will fuel your “fat burning” (really a myth), and you will find that if you do HIIT on a regular basis (every other day about 3 days a week is ideal) in combination with weightlifting exercises, you will drop weight quickly while still retaining a lot of the muscle mass that you’ve been building
HIIT is a great exercise to not lose a ton of muscle mass while still engaging in cardio, which is why it is a popular fitness routine for athletes, as it allows them to keep their strength while still pushing their cardio routine to the absolute limits.