If one of your fitness goals is to burn fat you’re probably thinking you’ll need to put in lots of time doing long, slow cardio workouts. How exciting. Fortunately, there is a better way. It’s called HIIT (or H.I.I.T.) and it can transform the way you burn fat.
So what is HIIT? HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT isn’t another one of those long slow cardio programs. Instead, a HIIT workout involves several cycles of short, hard exercise, followed by short less intense recovery periods. Done right, HIIT workouts are killers, but they don’t take a long time and they’re a highly-effective way to burn fat and get fit.
HIIT-ing yourself like this causes your heart rate to continually vary, going back and forth from a low level to near your maximum rate. HIIT workouts are short, but intense. A basic HIIT workout consists of a warm-up period, followed by several cycles of varying-intensity exercise, ending with a cool down period. The whole workout will usually take considerably less than an hour.
Scientific studies show that over time, a cardio program built around HIIT can burn up to 9 times the calories as an old-fashioned cardio workout. Shorter, more intense workouts that give far better results than longer, more boring ones.
Why does HIIT burn fat & build muscle better than regular cardio? The continually-changing levels of effort in HIIT cause your body to release massive amounts of growth hormone and other chemicals that burn fat & build muscle. The intense work you do during the session causes your metabolism to run at a higher rate for many hours after your workout. During this time, your body is rebuilding the tissues stressed by your workout, making them a little stronger and better able to handle the workload you are subjecting them to.
HIIT not only works better, it fits better into a busy lifestyle. If you’re determined to build a great body, you’re going to be dedicating a lot of time to lifting weights and other muscle-building activities. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time or patience to run on top of strength training. The shorter, more intense workouts of HIIT are an answer to this problem.
HIIT can make a huge difference in your fat loss results. But as with other aspects of your effort to burn fat & get fit, starting slowly is the best way to proceed. HIIT workouts are a particularly strong example of this general rule. I know from my own experience that trying to do too much HIIT too fast can leave you a quivering heap on the ground. Going too hard too fast is also a great way to lose your lunch.
The HIIT approach flies in the face of older approaches to cardio, which deal with concepts like optimum fat burning zones and the like. But this is definitely a more effective way to build muscle and burn fat on your way to awesome personal fitness. If you’re still not convinced, compare the physique of the typical marathon runner (long, slow distance) to the typical sprinter (short bursts of high-intensity effort). Which one has the kind of body you would want?
Take advantage of HIIT’s ability to burn fat faster while preventing muscle loss. With all its benefits, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) should definitely be part of your complete fitness plan. Just remember that these workouts can be brutal. Increase your HIIT training gradually and you’ll start seeing results soon.