Are HIIT workouts effective for weight loss is a commonly asked question. But there are some things you need to know about HIIT workouts before you decide to do them. In this post I will explain what these types of workouts are, how they are effective and when you should do them.
So What Is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically you increase, then decrease the speed at which you perform something (exercise or range of motion) at set intervals. While resting for certain times in between.
This could be done in second or minute increments. For example you could do high knees for 30 seconds at a slow pace, then increase your pace by double for another 30 seconds, then slow down for the last 30 seconds.
Which ever your timing sequence is for your sets, would constitute one round. So if you were jump roping for example, one round would be; 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow, 30 seconds fast, rest 60 seconds.
There is no required timing for HIIT workouts. This is dependent on the routine you are following or have been given. It could even just be your own timing.
Are HIIT Workouts Effective For Weight Loss?
Let Us Explore 5 Benefits Of HIIT Workouts
HIIT workouts are effective for weight loss in a number of ways. But one of the most advantageous reasons for HIIT training is the fact that the results are achieved over a shorter period of time.
This type of training may assist in burning more calories than conventional circuit training or exercising. However, you are spending less time doing it.
This is often a go-to workout for those that are pressed for time during the day.
Benefit 1 – HIIT Workouts and Fat Loss
Fat loss as a broad topic can often be misunderstood. When we think about fat loss, we think about just losing the fat on the external part of our bodies.
In truth, their is much risk of internal fat as there is external fat.
Yes, we all want to lose the fat that is seen on the outside, but we often overlook disease promoting fat that surrounds your organs. Also known as visceral fat.
HIIT workouts were shown to reduce visceral fat by 17% over a 12 week period, according to a study.
Benefit 2 – Oxygen Consumption and Blood Stroke Volume
Various studies on HIIT workouts have proven the effective of it to a degree. When referring to oxygen consumption, it refers to the ability your muscles have to use the oxygen. Typically this is done with steady state cardio such as, running, cycling, rowing or power walking.
Cardio training refers to cardiovascular function of your lungs. In other words, cardio training will increase lung capacity. Therefore improving your ability to consume oxygen within your muscles.
This is the conventional methodology behind cardio training. However, studies do show signs that HIIT workouts can produce the same results as cardio training. But in a shorter time.
Blood stroke volume is the measurement of blood being pumped out of your heart during each contraction. HIIT workouts have been evidenced to increase blood stroke volume.
This is why people that work in sedentary positions all day (without moving or exercising), run the risk of lower blood stroke volume and are at risk of heart disease.
Conventional exercising training increases the blood stroke volume of your heart. However, there is evidence that HIIT workouts can also increase your blood stroke volume, but in a short period of time.
Benefit 3 – Weight Loss vs Muscle Loss
In a broader comparison of weight loss and muscle development, the two are opposites of each other. The body processes required for weight loss, differ from that required for muscle building.
When you are looking to build muscle, you will eat a diet required for increasing muscle size and density. When you reach your “off season” you will start to cut off excess fat. During this time, you will lose a little muscle size as well. For the most part, this is unavoidable.
When you start to change your diet to suit your weight loss goals, you will also start exercising accordingly. Normal exercising will start to trigger the fat burning process and muscle development will start to decrease as a result.
However, there are studies that show HIIT workouts can promote weight loss, while keep your muscle tone and definition.
The way in which High Intensity Interval Training workouts are conducted, is explosive movements. These are often found in weight lifting exercises. Thus triggering the growth receptors in the muscles.
You won’t necessarily build muscle, but you will be keeping them working and engaged the whole time. Therefore maintaining the state in which they currently are.
Your muscles, may even appear more toned and defined. Awesome!
Benefit 4 – Versatile and Dynamic
What makes HIIT workouts so brilliant, is that they are versatile and dynamic. You can do them from anywhere, as most of them are just using your own body weight.
They are great if you are pressed for time and looking for a workout at home that you can do instead.
Of course you can do HIIT with bikes, treadmills or rowers, but you also don’t need them. Therefore the requirement for having equipment on hand is removed.
High Intensity Interval Training is based off the increase in heart rate. Not muscle fatigue. So using something like dumbbells would not target heart rate before muscle fatigue.
Of course your heart rate will still increase, but you will burn out quicker due to your muscles fatiguing first.
Benefit 5 – Mentally Rewarding
I love this part about HIIT workouts! It keeps you constantly working and pushing yourself.
Unlike cardio exercises where you can chat to your friends or read a book, HIIT makes you work non-stop.
Comradery and teamwork is absolutely necessary when it comes to training and motivation, but some fall into a trap.
Sometimes we become more engrossed in the conversation between our training partners, rather than the training itself.
When you do HIIT workouts, it is you and yourself. Of course these workouts can be done in groups, but there is no chatting amongst each other.
This is what makes them so great. Plus the chance of boredom is almost slim to none.
So Are HIIT Workouts Effective For Weight Loss?
Well I would say that performing HIIT workouts about 4 times a week for around 20mins at a time, should be sufficient for maximum results.
Please note, that certain HIIT workouts do require plyometric exercises. These can be quite difficult on your joints as they are normally quite high impact. So try to
For example Beach Body Insanity workout (this is an affiliate link. I may receive a commission should you choose to purchase it. This is at NO extra cost to you) is extremely high impact. I do it twice a year. For me it works every time when I am looking to cut off some fat coming up to the summer.
It is a strong recommendation of mine, but I strongly advise you first get yourself checked by a medical professional.
There are of course many different HIIT workouts on the market. You just need to play around and find the ones that you enjoy 🙂
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