Tag Archives: hiit
Personally, I have been performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio consistently for well over 3 years now. Yet, even with many hundreds of sessions under my belt, every HIIT workout continues to be a learning experience for me. Within this article, I will break down the main components of an effective HIIT workout and explain some techniques to really step your HIIT workout to the next level!
Interval or High Intesity Interval Training (HIIT) presents a heap of fitness benefits which include better aerobic capacity and more calories burned.
New research demonstrates that a short cardio training session (high intensity interval training, or HIIT) is an efficient and effective alternative to long cardio sessions.
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!