High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

...and how it helps you burn fat fast!

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise whereby periods of high intensity exercise are alternated with periods of low intensity exercise. There are so many benefits of this type of training, especially from a weight-loss perspective, that you should make the effort to incorporate it into your weight loss plan!

There is a popular belief that if you want to burn off maximum amounts of body fat it is best to exercise within your 'fat burning zone', which is believed to be 60-80% of your maximum heart rate.

However, this theory has since been disproven with the advent of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Interval training has the potential to burn off far more body fat compared to exercising at a 'steady state' (i.e. within the 'fat burning zone').

Interval Training

This results from the energy (calories) expended during the exercise session itself, the extra calories burnt off post-exercise (this is called, Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC) and the physiological adaptations that occur as a result of this form of exercise.

Even though the proportion of fat burning may be greater during 'steady-state' exercise compared to the HIIT style, the total amount of fat that gets burnt is substantially less!

Benefits of Interval Training Example

For example, let's say you weigh 70 kilograms (154lbs) and exercise on a stationary bike for 30 minutes at a speed of 8.8 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 5.5 miles per hour (mph).

You burn up a total of 134.5 calories and let's say 70% of which comes from fat and 30% from carbohydrate.

Next, you decide to try the HIIT style. You exercise on a stationary bike for the same length of time (30 minutes) at the same speed (8.8 km/h) but during the last 10 seconds of each minute you sprint at around 25 kilometres per hour (km/h).

This is how things change:

  • 171 calories burnt

  • 65% from fat and 35% from carbohydrate
  • When you compare the two approaches it becomes clear which one is superior from a fat-burning perspective.

    By using the first approach you will burn off around 94 calories from fat, which equates to be around 10.5 grams of fat.

    However, the second approach (HIIT), which uses the 10-second bursts at the end of each minute, means you will burn off 111 calories from fat, which equals 12.5 grams of fat!

    This is why the 'fat-burning zone' is no longer warranted as a method of assessing fat burning in the body.

    To take this on step further, the higher level of intensity means that it is likely that even more fat is burnt after the exercise session is completed as well, i.e. There is a higher EPOC with the interval training compared to the 'steady-state' exercise session.

    Even though the HIIT style as an exercise protocol for maximising fat burning in the body has been proven to be effective, whether EPOC is a major contributing factor has yet to be proven. Nevertheless, high intensity interval training is definitely a more effective way to burn off body fat fast!

    For more information on how to maximise your fat loss from exercise, please read the article titled: Heart Rate and Fat Burning.

    Of course, when it comes to exercise the most important aspect is that you exercise consistently and make it a permanent part of your lifestyle. However, if you want to get the best possible fat-burning and weight-loss results from your exercise session, then incorporating high intensity interval training into your weight-loss plan is the best way to go.

    I hope you have found this article useful and are now able to make a more informed decision about your exercise program.

    If you would like to discover even more principles to help you lose weight, please get a copy of my e-book, Look Good, Feel Great!

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