Are you battling to lose that stubborn fat or feel like you are doing so much cardio but just not getting any results? I’m going to explain to you how interval training can take your body’s fat-burning to the next level. Research has shown that people burn more fat in a shorter time doing intensity training than those that exercise at a constant intensity level.
How interval training works
High intensity interval training (HIIT) combines periods of intense exercise with periods of rest or light exercise. By combining short bursts or sprints of aerobic effort you increase the body’s ability to burn fat. Slowing down between high intensity intervals makes the body work harder in a given time than if the activity was performed without rest periods.
Studies have shown that you need to reach between 80-100% of your VO2 max during your high intensity intervals to reap the benefits of HIIT. Your body’s VO2 max is a measurement of the maximum volume of oxygen that it can use and it’s a major factor in determining your endurance level.
To be able to measure this while you are exercising, you’ve reached your Vmax level of exertion when you feel you can’t bring in as much air as your body wants. If you can comfortably hold a conversation you’re not there.
How it burns more fat
When you do exercise your body burns far and carbs and the proportions vary with the intensity of exercise. Research shows that as exercise intensity increases you burn more from your glycogen stores for energy than your fat stores and low intensity activity like walking taps more into fat stores.
So then how do you lose more fat with HIIT?
It comes down to total calories burned while exercising. High-intensity burns quite a bit more calories than that of low-intensity and as fat loss is determined by energy balance the advantage here is clear.
It has been found that it can burn 36% more fat compared with steady state cardio and is more effective for burning stubborn subcutaneous fat than other types of exercise.
HIIT also increase your resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercise and spikes your growth hormone levels which aid in fat loss.
Tips for your HIIT workout
Cycling, rowing and sprinting have been shown to be the best but if you don’t like these or can’t perform them don’t shy away from other forms such as swimming, skipping, boxing, kettlebell movements etc.
The goal of HIIT is to go fast and hard, not slow and hard. The primary difference should be your speed and not the resistance.
Start your workouts with 2-3 minutes of low-intensity warm up. Do 20-30 minutes of HIIT and 2-3 minutes of warm down.
If you are looking to lose fat quickly I recommend 3-5 hours of weightlifting and 1-2 hours of HIIT cardio per week. This way you will lose fat and not muscle.
Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest:
- Box jumps
- Kettlebell swings
- Rowing machine
*You can substitute any of these with bike sprints, treadmill sprints, mountain climbers, squats etc.