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Working at maximal intensity for an extended amount of time is physiologically impossible. So if you think that performing tougher workout routines for longer durations will make you shed fat faster, you may want to change your weight loss strategy.
In fact, there is a much more effective way to experience body transformation in much lesser time. Instead of spending hours grinding it out with traditional workout regimes, there is a better and faster way to reap the full fitness benefits by utilizing high intensity movements in short bursts. By doing so, you grant your body frequent recovery periods to prepare for the next round.
Countless studies prove that high intensity training will facilitate in losing body fat fast while retaining maximal muscle mass. High intensity training can also strengthen the cardio vascular system and improve your endurance for high level of intensity training for a longer period of time.
What is HIIT?
Fitness enthusiasts who’re looking for effective ways to get shredded should know about the term ‘HIIT’, also known as High Intensity Interval Training. For most people who are unfamiliar with HIIT, they commonly associate it with panting, sweating along with unfathomable amount of burpees.
Perhaps, you’ve heard that HIIT has to do with performing intense movements, short breaks and breaking an insane amount of sweat. But the truth of the matter is that HIIT is so much more than that.
Yes, there is an element of high intensity as well as of interval training but having said that, most people never perform HIIT workouts correctly. At the end of the day, they might not even get a single HIIT workout in, even though they thought they did. So to clear out the confusion, here is what HIIT truly looks like.
High intensity interval training or HIIT is a very specific type of training technique where you give everything you have during short but fierce spurts of exercise. The bursts are alternated with short and occasionally active periods of recovery as opposed to standing still.
This kind of intense training raises and keeps the heart rate up while burning deep into your fat deposits in less time. You can also get the same benefit when you go for a long run by keeping your heart rate up, also known as Moderate Intensity Steady State Cardio (MISS Training). However, the two are very different, as the results produced vary significantly.
The goal of HIIT is not only to raise your heart rate up and making sure that you perform your training at maximum intensity. And to truly reap the benefits of HIIT, you have to push your efforts to the limit during every burst by keeping your EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) high.
This is also why each burst is short, ranging anywhere between 20-90 seconds because even this much time is a lot when you kick the intensity level up to the max.
This key difference separates HIIT from both high intensity and interval training when done on their own. Research shows that all exercise promotes fat burn by burning calories but exercise performed at a higher intensity creates the after-burn effect that burns more calories over time. That is exactly why HIIT is such a hit.
When compared to other types of cardio, HIIT has also been seen to be a more effective means of getting incredibly shredded fast. It is a workout that is beneficial on multiple fronts since it uses both body weight and added weight that not only spike up the heart rate but also tone muscles.
The other thing that makes HIIT work is the element of rest. The training is comprised of intense bursts of activity followed by active recovery, this is where the element of rest comes in. Resting between each set is an essential part of the workout because if you do not take enough time to recover, you will not be able to push yourself to the limit on the next burst.
Since you are performing at an intense level, you are forcing your body to perform something it is neither used to nor comfortable with. Only by pushing through the limits your muscles demand growth. This explains why HIIT can not only burn fat, but also help you retain muscle mass or even grow in mass – In fact, you won’t find this benefit by performing long hours of traditional cardio sessions.
To put it simply, HIIT can help you shred body fat, staying lean, improve endurance while adding more muscle mass.
The Science Behind HIIT
As seen above, HIIT aims to induce overload. That is to say, by going through strenuous exercise, the body fatigues more significantly in the hope for supercompensation. However, supercompensation can only occur when the training overload is supported by significant recovery. Together, the two components aim to bring about physiological adaptations that lead to increased performance above the baseline.
Think of it like a car engine after a long car trip. Once you have reached your destination, your car engine continues to stay warm until it slowly cools to a resting temperature. The same mechanism occurs happens in the body after a HIIT workout.
Just as a car engine stays warm once it has been turned off, your body’s metabolism continues to strive even after the workout is done. This physiological effect is known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC.