Burn more fat by adding two-three high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your weekly workouts. Find out more with these expert insights.
While building lean muscle will aid in boosting metabolic activity while at rest, HIIT – which involves short periods of intense work followed by even shorter recovery periods – performed two to three times a week will give the body an added fat-burning edge. Being extremely taxing on the body, HIIT sessions are usually performed for no longer than 25 to 30 minutes.
“While traditional long-duration steady-state cardio burns fat during your workout, HIIT raises post-workout energy consumption,” says trainer and creator of Creating Curves program trainer Alexa Towersey.
“Include sprints in your training program. I suggest doing these twice a week, as they should be intense enough that you require adequate recovery to perform.”
Steady-state cardiovascular training – such as a 45-minute jog performed at about 55 to 65 per cent of maximum heart rate – causes the body to opt for a higher percentage of fat for fuel and its lower intensity means it can be performed over an extended period of time. While this can be beneficial for fat burning, HIIT has been shown to reap similar results in a fraction of the time. Although HIIT opts for a larger percentage of easily accessible carbs over fat while feet are to treadie, it also tends to burn more calories both in-workout and once at rest. A study published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal found that just 10 minutes of HIIT training equated to the same number of calories burnt in a 50-minute session of LISS – meaning more efficient training.
“HIIT certainly increases metabolism due to its nature of raising heart rates to maximal levels followed by short recovery periods, while usually incorporating multiple muscle groups simultaneously,” says accredited dietitian and nutritionist, Mark Robinson.
“This trains the body to work under fatigue, delay lactic acid accumulation and incorporate both fat and carbohydrate macronutrients for energy oxidation. Whenever both fats and carbs are being metabolised, the overall calorie output is greater.”
HIIT has also been shown to boost metabolism for up to 36 hours post-workout with the body’s excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) working hard to return the body to homeostasis (read: the norm). The boost to metabolism directly correlates with the duration and intensity of a workout: in a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, subjects who completed 20 bouts of one-minute sprints (105 per cent of VO2 max), reported almost double the EPOC when compared to those who completed 30 minutes of continuous steady-state cardio. In other words, the harder you work, the greater the results you reap.
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