There is a lot of talk about HIIT training. Losing fat has a lot to do with burning calories. Finding the most effective type of cardio workout to do that is going to put you on the fast track to leaning out and toning up.
Fortunately, the mystery surrounding this subject has been removed. A raft of recent studies have made it crystal clear that High intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most effective, time efficient fat burning cardio workout on the planet.
If you’re not yet a HIIT convert, it’s time to get on board.
HIIT – What Is It?
HIIT involves repeat intervals of short intense periods of all out performance of a cardio workout exercise, followed by even shorter rest periods. Commonly participants perform the sprint portion for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second recovery.
The best type of cardio exercise to choose are ones that will allow for all out effort on the sprint portion of the program. Running, cycling on a stationary bike and skipping are great options. After a two minute warm-up, you perform 8 cycles of the 20-10 routine, for a total work-out time of 4 minutes. This is followed by a warm-down of 2 minutes. This style of training is called Tabata – The man responsible for Tabata is Dr Izumi Tabata. He tested his theory and recorded the results here
- Burns calories like crazy
- Increases VO2 Max
- Don’t need equipment
- Time efficient
- Burns fat, not muscle
- Increases metabolism for 26 hours following the workout
HIIT – The Proof
(1) A recent study out of California State University, Sam Marcos had test subjects performing HITT cardio workouts for 3 weeks. At the end of that 21-day period university aged men and women improved their maximal oxygen uptake by 6% as well as improving their stationary bike power output and blood pressure.
(2) In another study, this one based at Colorado State University, a single HIIT cardio workout was shown to increase daily energy expenditure by 200 calories.
(3) A third study, out of Brisbane, Australia showed that HIIT cardio workouts also has amazing benefits for people suffering from coronary artery disease and obesity related conditions.
HIIT – How to Do It
HIIT cardio workouts should be performed 3 days per week, on alternate days.
Here’s how the HIIT cardio workout program would look with RUNNING as the exercise of choice.
(1) Find a training area with a 100m open space. If training inside, you’ll need a 100m space. When you reach the end simply spin around and keep going.
(1) Perform a 2 minute slow jog, concentrating on running a lap with high knees followed by a lap with high back kicks.
(2) Sprint all out for 30 seconds. Imagine that a large, hungry animal is chasing you. Pump your arms and go to your absolute limit.
(3) Jog, or walk, for exactly 30 seconds.
(4) Perform your second sprint. Work hard not to drop the pace. Keep going for the whole 30 seconds.
(5) Repeat for another 6 cycles. Keep pushing hard on every sprint.
(6) Perform a 2 minute warm down.
HIIT: The Bottom Line
If you’re not doing HIIT cardio workouts for fat loss you are depriving your body of the most effective cardio fat burning method out there. Work HIIT into your program 3 times per week on alternate days. Yes, it’ll be hard work. Yes, you’ll love/hate doing it – and yes, it will get you leaner than any other single thing you could do with your body!
(1) Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 26:138-145, 2012
(2) Physiological Reports, 1 (5): E00131, 2013
British Journal of Sports Medicine, published online October 21, 2013