HIIT has been scientifically proven to be the most effective way to burn fat. The workouts are much shorter than a regular cardiovascular workout and last only 20-30 minutes. So how is it that this shorter workout could burn more fat than an hour long cardio workout? Well, that is a great question and here are the answers:
High Intensity Interval Training requires you to work out anaerobically or without oxygen. While you are doing the HIIT drills, you are reducing the oxygen to you muscles and also building up lactic acid. At some point, you have so much lactic acid that your body cannot clear it all which is when you reach muscle failure. When you reach muscle failure, you take a short rest. This rest is to let your body recover but not so much that you are cooling down. You want to lower your heart rate a little so that you can prepare for the next drill but again you don’t want to start cooling down just yet. As the name suggests, HIIT is intense. For this reason, you need to go as hard as you physically can during the drill in order to reach muscle failure. You should actually feel physically exhausted by the end of the drill.
That’s enough science for now. Let’s talk about why HIIT is so great for fat loss. By working out at your maximum capacity you are basically putting your body into a fat-burning overdrive state for up to 48 hours from your workout. Basically you have to push yourself to the limit, a limit that normal cardio doesn’t reach, and for an extended period, a few minutes at a time. You heart rate will actually be elevated for the rest of the day. Your metabolism will also be higher for the rest of the day and like I said, up to 48 hours after. This is why HIIT is so great for fat loss.
On top of burning more fat than old-fashioned cardiovascular workouts, you will increase your cardiovascular fitness, too. Because you are working anaerobically for bursts of time, when you go to do regular cardio workouts that are aerobically, these workouts will be easier.
Now you can see why HIIT is becoming more and more popular. Professional athletes train using HIIT. It prepares them for sporting games so they can go longer and harder than before. But there is something you should know. HIIT workouts are so physically intense and exhausting that they should only be done up to 3 times per week. You are going to put your body through hell so it needs at least a day in between workouts to recover. I would also like to note that you should not only do HIIT routines. You can still do your other workouts such as strength training on your days off. So if you are ready to get started, here is a great HIIT workout example you can check out and try whenever you are ready!