Losing weight isn’t as easy as taking a few pills. It needs dedication, determination, and the perseverance to follow an intensive plan. Nowadays, there are hundreds of approaches out there, but it’s safe to say that a healthy diet and regular exercise are the only ones that have stood the test of time. When it comes to working out, one of the best ways to help you lose weight is by using HIIT workouts.
What is HIIT anyway?
HIIT stands for ‘High-intensity interval training,’ and it’s a form of exercise that alternates between bursts of maximum heart rate and then a resting heart rate so you can catch your breath before you give the workout your utmost effort again. Its effectiveness is in the fact that the high-intensity workouts force your body to achieve its maximum metabolic rate, whereas the low-intensity breaks in between give your body the chance to recover. The alternating heart rates shock the heart, and in turn, result in achieving a high metabolic rate and therefore losing more fat.
Running vs. HIIT
Running is considered to be a form of cardio that is aerobic, which means that it’s steady, and your heart rate doesn’t fluctuate but instead has a constant rate of 120-150 bpm. This form of exercise requires oxygen and uses your stored fats to fuel your workout.
However, HIIT is an anaerobic exercise that doesn’t just rely on oxygen, but on lactic acid, and it uses the stored carbohydrates in the body for energy. Because HIIT forces you to exert your maximum effort, you end up breathing harder, which results in more fats being burnt than most steady-state cardio training within the same amount of time.
How does HIIT make you burn more fat?
As explained above, HIIT exercises work on giving 100% (or at least 80%) effort in small bursts. Due to the extreme amount of effort your body is exerting, it feels that it is deprived of oxygen. That’s why your body produces lactic acid to help keep your muscles working properly, even without enough oxygen. When lactic acid acts as oxygen supply and is produced by the body, it gives you a burst of adrenaline, which not only leads to more fat being burnt but also aids in building muscles.
Another advantage of HIIT workouts is that due to the deprivation of oxygen, your body tends to enter a rebuilding mode after the workout to restore the oxygen levels back to the normal values. Because your body loses many nutrients during a HIIT workout, the body tries to replace them afterward, and so it continues to burn fat up to 48 hours after the workout. As your body uses up stored carbohydrates during the exercise, your metabolism keeps working hard to find replacements and does not store glycogen as fat in that period.
HIIT not only burns more calories than steady-state cardio exercises but also makes the body continue to burn fat at rest after a workout, making it a lot more effective than any other form of workout for those who want to lose weight. It is also a great way to add a bit more difficulty to your exercise routine as the alternating factor really builds your stamina and strength.
While I enjoy HIIT workouts for many reasons, any form of exercise you enjoy is best! Consistency is key with any health or fitness goal.