Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Best Exercise for Fat Loss: HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of cardio that alternates between periods of high intensity (running at 90% MHR - Max Heart Rate) and low intensity (walking). Numerous studies show that HIIT leads to greater fat loss than the steady-state cardio that most do - running at a constant pace for 30 minutes.

A study from Laval University (Montreal, Canada) reported that a 15-week HIIT program led to a significantly greater bodyfat loss than a 20-week steady-state endurance program, despite the fact that the latter burned about 15,000 more calories than the HIIT program. The reason HIIT burns fat so well appears to be due to the greater increase in the Resting Metabolic Rate that subjects experience.

Generally, you will be burning more calories post workout as your body cools down. This is a more effective way of training and losing fat as it allows you to conserve your time and get the maximal amount of training in.

HIIT Workout Example

There are a lot of variations of HIIT workouts, below we will introduce the simplest form. You will need a place to run or do some type of cardio (Eliptical/Treadmill/Rower).


2 Minute warm up at a moderate pace. In general, this would be a pace at which you could carry on a conversation with the person next to you. Your breathing rate should be controlled and low.

Remember Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. This helps with controlling your breathing and heart rate

High Intensity Interval

Begin increasing you speed/output to near maximum. At this point your ability to have a conversation should be zero, as your body will be focusing on breathing. This is a full out burst!

Time: 30 seconds to 60 seconds

Low Intensity Interval

Lowers your speed/output back down to the warm up phase. Here is what we call the Active Rest stage. You body will be recovering from the quick burst movement you did previously. Work on controlling your breathing and lowering your heart rate.

Time: 60 seconds to 120 seconds

The above is considered to be One Complete Interval. You should perform 8 - 15 of these for a full session.

Total Time: 30 minutes or less.

Summary of HIIT

How I like to explain HIIT to my clients is that you are tricking your body into burning more calories over time. You can consider the low interval as a level 1, and high interval as a level 10. By mixing them up and and using more energy for the explosiveness to get up to level 10 your body continuously feels like you are at a level 7. Now, compare that yo a stagnant program like running at a constant space - which we will say is a level 5 - your body will be out working it under HIIT.

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