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Tag Archives: hiit cardio

  • I have just begin HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio. How much more fat should I expect to lose? Also, what have been your experiences with HIIT?

    Hey Sally...I've been training with HIIT cardio for about 3 years now.  Whilst there was a period in my training where I stopped it altogether to focus on weights, for the last 18 months I've been really consistent with it (3-7 times per week). 

    Fat wise, studies have shown anywhere from 3-9x more fat relative to steady state exercise.  I wrote an article on HIIT training which cites an article that determined 9 times more fat is burnt:

    The Fat Burning Zone  

    It's hard to say precisely how much more fat you can expect to burn as this obviously depends upon many variables.

    My experience with the cardio is, initially it is very tough - mentally and physically.  You really test yourself every single time and I am yet to find a tougher (and more excruciating) form of exercise.  But if you apply yourself over an extended period of time, you develop a really strong discipline that emanates in other area's of life.

  • What will result in greater fat loss and muscle loss, HIIT cardio or low intensity endurance cardio?

    HIIT cardio will result in significant fat loss - far more significant than 60-70% max heart rate. Lower intensity exercise utilises fat as a primary energy fuel source during exercise, but the net adipose tissue (fat tissue) breakdown is far greater with HIIT cardio over a 24 hour snapshot.

    Meanwhile with regards to the breakdown of muscle mass, HIIT cardio can actually produce an anabolic effect with regards to muscular hypertrophy (building muscle). Of course, significant amounts of HIIT cardio (or any cardio for that matter) will result in significant muscle atrophy (breakdown). But this simply is achieved through a caloric defecit - and could be just as effectively achieved through a diet deficient in calories.

    It's very easy to get confused on this topic, particularly with the infamous "fat burning zone"...gah that is something I have a real beef about.

    For more reading on the subject, check out these articles:

    The Fat Burning Zone

    (Begin with the one above, it's an article I had published in several fitness/bodybuilding magazines and provides a more general overview on the topic. The articles below analyse the subject in greater detail.)

    Myths Under the Microscope - Fat Burning Zone

    Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio

    Myths Under the Microscope - Final Discussion

  • I am about to begin a training program and am 30kg overweight. After reading one of your articles, I am not sure if I should attempt HIIT cardio. What would be your advice?

    Thanks very much for your question.

    Just to clarify to anyone reading this Q&A, I do not for a single second believe that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a waste of time.  I am a very strong advocator of the very significant health, fitness and weight loss benefits of this form of exercise, as is very apparent throughout this website.

    However, I do not believe that it is always suitable for the beginner to jump head-first into such a demanding exercise regime.  There are a two major reasons that I have for stance:

    • HIIT is very intense and requires a lot of mental and physical toughness.  A person that goes from a low-activity lifestyle to a contrasting HIIT exercise regime can often be extremely discouraged by the unexpected toll it can take on your system.
    • Your body does need time to adjust to increased levels of activity.  HIIT is an advanced form of training that will place your body under extreme physical stress.  Your body may have trouble adapting to such a demanding form of exercise in such a short period of time.  This can pose health risks.

    Therefore I would not recommend that you begin HIIT straight off the bat.  Whilst it is desirable to lose the weight as quickly as possible, it is also important to consider your health and the long-term sustainability of your training program.

    As a general guide, I would recommend that you begin with a relatively low intensity exercise routine to allow your body a chance to become used to the increased physical demands. It is hard to advise a specific length of time based on the information provided.  You should begin with enough intensity to break a sweat and feel worked, but not too much that you feel like you're going to fall over and collapse :).  From there, it is important to continually up-the-ante, so to speak.  Gradually increase the demands of the exercise program (through duration and/or intensity).  Eventually you will reach a level where HIIT will be a much more viable option.  You may want to read an article I published on this subject, entitled The Art Of Adaptation 

    Before you begin anything, I highly recommend that you consult with a personal trainer to aid you in your weight loss efforts.  A relatively small financial investment is negligible when you consider the invaluable benefits a personal trainer will provide - namely very specific advice on how to achieve your goals in a safe, effective and sustainable manner.  I offer these services both online and face-to-face - click here for more information.

    I hope this is of help!

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