If you’ve ever typed ‘how to lose body fat’ into a search engine, one of the first things you’ll notice that comes up is the acronym HIIT, short for High-Intensity Interval Training. Losing weight or more specifically body fat is one of the main reasons every day people frequent the gym and while HIIT is not the only tool you should be utilising, we are going to explain why HIIT is a tool everybody should be incorporating in their weekly training routine.
What is HIIT
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of training that involves short periods of moderate to intense activity, followed by either very low-intensity movement or complete rest. This small window of reprieve enables recovery before repeating another burst of high-intensity movement.
An example of high-intensity interval training is if a person were to cycle on an exercise bike for 20 seconds at 80% – 90% intensity followed by rest for 10 seconds. You would repeat this for 8 rounds (total 4 minutes) as a set and then depending on your level of fitness, you could repeat for 2 to 3 sets.
(Cycle at 80%+ intensity for 20 seconds then at 20% intensity for 10 seconds) x 8 = 1 SET
Benefits Of HIIT
There are several benefits of HIIT but the most common and important one has to do with one of our nation’s biggest struggles – excess weight.
HIIT has become popular in the fitness industry as a tool that can help assist people with fat loss. One of the main reasons HIIT is superior to other forms of cardiovascular activity like steady-state aerobic training is the superior influence HIIT has on our physiology. Insulin resistance is commonly found amongst the overweight and obese population and HIIT has been shown to have a positive effect on insulin resistance.
Along with the positive effect on insulin resistance, HIIT is also an effective fat loss tool for other reasons such as its ability to improve both anaerobic and aerobic fitness. It is extremely time effective with HIIT sessions often completed anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes making it extremely convenient in the time-poor world we live in. It’s not uncommon for an 80kg person to burn in excess of 500 calories in a 30 minutes session along with up to 200 calories post-workout because of something called excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) where the body needs more oxygen post-workout to recover.
Who Should Avoid HIIT
While HIIT is a great tool for people there are times in which it can be detrimental to our health and fitness. One example of this is people who are experiencing high levels of stress in their lives. Stress is known to increase a person’s level of the hormone cortisol which plays a part in helping us recover and survive stressful situations. This steroid hormone activates during the fight-or-flight response, which is a healthy, natural response to perceived threats. However, when elevated for long periods of time this can inhibit fat loss, reduce muscle development, affect sleep quality, cause brain fog, and therefore reduce overall training performance.
It is the recommendation of Authentic Health Studio, that if you are experiencing high levels of stress, reduce or even eliminate HIIT training, and focus on your recovery.
When To Perform HIIT
HIIT training is best performed on its own where possible due to the physiological adaptations that take place and the intensity required to perform it effectively. People will sometimes perform bouts of intense intervals after strength training due to being time-poor. Aiming for anywhere between 1 and 3 HIIT sessions per week on their own, depending on your goals and fitness level, is recommended.
Overall you can see HIIT has many benefits for people looking to improve both their fitness and body composition. When performed as part of a well-written program along with an emphasis on recovery between training sessions HIIT is a tool Authentic Health believes can add benefit to many everyday gym users.
Contact Authentic Health today to find out whether HIIT can bridge the gap between where you are and your fitness goals.
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