High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the new way to burn off stubborn body fat. It is especially appealing to time-conscious folks who don’t want to spend hours and hours pounding the roads or trails.
HIIT advocates argue that by exercising at a high intensity our bodies will burn more fat both in the short-term and in the long-term.
Generally, people seeking to lose fat are taught to avoid high intensity exercise in favor of lower-intensity, easy cardio. This is because the conventional wisdom is that high intensity exercise burns a higher percentage of carbs rather than fat.
More fat is burned during HIIT workouts
HIIT advocates state that even though the percentage of calories burned at high intensity shifts more towards carbs, the total number of calories burned during high intensity exercise is so much higher that more fat calories are burned than during low-intensity exercise of the same duration.
- For example, let’s say you ran for an hour at low intensity, and burned 300 calories, with seventy percent of them from fat. You have burned 210 calories of fat.
- Yet, if you ran for an hour at high intensity and burned 500 total calories, even if only fifty percent of them were from fat, you’ve still burned 250 calories of fat…more than during an hour’s worth of low-intensity running.
More fat burned after HIIT workouts
Another benefit of HIIT workouts is what happens to your metabolic rate after you’re done working out. With low-intensity cardio, your metabolic rate may remain slightly elevated for an hour afterwards, but with HIIT it stays significantly elevated for three to four hours afterwards.
In lab studies, rats trained using HIIT versus traditional low-intensity cardio burned off significantly more body fat.
What does a HIIT look like in real life?
HIIT advocates recommend that you hit the weights hard and heavy before your cardio, and first thing in the morning before breakfast so that your muscles are in a fasting state so that it doesn’t take long to burn up all the glycogen, or blood sugar, stored in your muscles. Then you do your cardio, and you’re essentially running on empty when it comes to glycogen so your body is forced to burn fat.
The easiest way to incorporate HIIT into a running workout is to start off at an easy pace for fifteen minutes to get warmed up. Then increase your intensity to about ninety percent for one minute, then bring it back down for a minute or two — however long it takes for you to recover enough to do it again, this time at ninety-five percent.
When you change your speed and intensity level every two minutes or so, it tricks your body into burning more calories since it can not achieve steady state.
One key to recovering from a high intensity workout is to feed your muscles protein after the workout. We recommend using EnergyFirst ProEnergy Protein Powder – the highest quality and best tasting protein powder available on the market!
More tips on how you can increase fitness, gain strength, and shed fat can be found by visiting www.energyfirst.com/nutrition-articles.