Is HIIT The Workout You Need?
Women workout for a variety of reasons. Some want to tone up. Other women want to improve their cardiovascular health. Still others want to lose that fat that has been following them around for way too long.
If you are working out to lose fat and not achieving the results you want, take a look at this explanation of how HIIT can help you move from where you are now to where you want to be!
Does HIIT live up to the hype? In some respects. “If you’re trying to lose fat, it’s pretty clear that HIIT is a more effective tool than long-distance cardio,” Robertson says. Physiologists have yet to develop a full explanation for why this is, but one reason may be the so-called afterburn effect, in which the metabolism remains elevated for hours — and sometimes even days — after an intense workout.
The how isn’t important for coaches like Robertson and Mike. They just know that when a client wants to lose fat fast, HIIT is one of the best tools. One 1994 study at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, found HIIT was nine times more effective for losing fat than steady-state cardio.
Regular HIIT workouts also improve your ability to withstand the rigors of other types of interval training, adds Mike. The aching sensation in your muscles that accompanies a hard sprint (which results from burning carbohydrates for fuel) becomes less intense and subsides more quickly over time, allowing you to work at a higher intensity with less rest. Your capacity to transition smoothly from burning fat (before your workout and during rest periods) to burning carbohydrates (during your work intervals) and back again — known as your “metabolic flexibility” — improves with HIIT, as well. Together, these metabolic benefits bolster health and athletic performance, particularly in sports requiring short bursts of all-out effort interspersed with periods of reduced effort, such as basketball or martial arts.
All these benefits result from time-efficient workouts that are much shorter than your average lower-intensity cardio session. Just six HIIT workouts performed over two or three weeks, each lasting just a few minutes, produced measurable improvements in key markers of cardiovascular health, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found. Regardless of your goals, it’s hard to argue against including at least some HIIT in your routine.
How Much Intensity Is Enough For HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training is a long name. It sounds complicated but it actually is fairly straight forward. Get some good instruction when you start out and you can adapt HIIT to almost any workout for years to come.
You may wonder just how much intensity is necessary to qualify as “high intensity?” And how do I know if I’m doing enough? If these questions sound like you, the excerpt below will help give you the answers you want. You may be surprised by what you read.
Earlier interval training studies primarily focused on highly trained males, but researchers say that they overlooked the variety of other populations that routinely use interval training.
Drs Matt Laurent and Matt Kutz, at Bowling Green State University, Lauren Vervaecke, at the University of South Carolina, and Dr Matt Green at the University of North Alabama, put eight men and eight women between the ages of 19 and 30 through self-paced, high intensity interval training using different recovery periods.
All of them reported at least a moderate fitness level and participation in at least one session of interval training a week…
‘I really think one of the “take home” points from our study was, despite the gender differences that we found, individuals performing high-intensity interval training should listen to, and trust, their body and pay attention to how they are feeling,’ said Dr Laurent.
‘Without having any feedback about their data, all the participants had to use to set their pace was how they felt during the run and how recovered they felt.
‘In that sense, when runners perform high-intensity intervals, trust that if you push yourself to run what you consider hard, you are probably at the correct intensity, and if you maintain recommended work-to-rest ratios you most likely will recover appropriately to get the most out of your workout, independent of gender.’
Have you tried HIIT to lose fat?