High Intensity Interval Training (otherwise known as HIIT) is the best way to accomplish a lot in a little time.
All of a sudden it’s April. It feels like it was sweater season a week ago, back when the calories didn’t really matter, but now summer is right around the corner and the layers are coming off.
Here’s what you need to know about HIIT workouts in order to burn fat as efficiently as possible–since at this time of year, efficiency is key.
Research shows that HIIT workouts burn more fat than longer periods of moderate exercise.
A meta-analysis published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine pooled results from 36 different studies to analyze the effects of interval workouts vs. endurance training. Their main question was the same one on all of our minds as summer rapidly approaches: which burns more fat?
The answer? Both… but interval training burns just a little bit more. This is great news if you’re looking to save time but get the same results. More bang for your buck, as some might say. On average, interval trainers dropped 3.5 pounds of fat, while those who engaged in longer moderate exercise lost about 2.5 pounds.
It only takes a couple minutes to change your whole day.
Another study conducted at the University of Colorado found that participants burned more calories all day after just a few minutes of strenuous exercise.
Researchers asked participants to pedal as fast as they could on stationary bikes with high resistance for 30 seconds at a time. After 30 seconds of intensity, participants got a minute of recovery time to bike slowly with no resistance. They did this 5 times consecutively, for a total workout time of 7.5 minutes.
The results revealed that participants burned an average of 200 extra calories, after only 2.5 minutes of vigorous exercise.
One important consideration is that researchers were coaching the participants during the 30 second intervals, pushing them to give 100% effort. Admittedly, it is more difficult to motivate yourself without anyone encouraging you. It is always easier to adopt a new workout routine when you have help. Structure becomes especially important when you’re trying to maximize gains in a short amount of time.
Not sure where to start? Try a HIIT class.
Luckily, many gyms provide HIIT classes to give you that extra push. Crunch Fitness, a Zeamo partner gym, has an entire “HIITZone” with four different types of HIIT classes. There’s AccelerateHIIT for cardio, or PunchHIIT if you’re looking to release some aggression through a mix of martial arts and boxing. StrongHIIT focuses on building power and strength, and ExtremeHIIT claims to be the most hardcore of the four.
Bottom line, it’s not too late to get in shape for this summer. Easily incorporate exercise into your daily routine, without the intimidation of a huge time commitment. You don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill to see results.