If you’ve ever wondered how to lose fat fast, we need to get one thing straight: there’s no quick-fix, overnight answer to weight loss. No matter what diet pill, promotion, or fad is going around, weight loss doesn’t occur in the blink of an eye. In order to burn body fat, you need to both eat a clean diet where you consume fewer calories than you burn during the day, and you need to workout. The problem is, some people believe all workouts are created equally, and they’re not. Different workouts give you different results. If your goal is to increase your overall fitness level and work your heart, you want aerobic exercise. It’s okay for that to be “low-impact” like walking, jogging, or swimming. But if your goal is to lose fat, you can’t just jog at a steady pace every day and expect to see the pounds come off. You need to incorporate a different type of exercise: High Intensity Interval Training. Learn why HIIT workouts are good for burning fat fast and how to get started with them for better weight loss results.
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
If you’re new to High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, it’s a fairly simple concept: work harder, not longer. You exert maximum effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods. These intervals get your heart rate up and burn more fat and calories in less time—and more effectively—than Low Impact Steady State exercise, or LISS.
Related: The Beginner’s Guide To HIIT
The Metabolic Effects of High Intensity Interval Training
So you know HIIT workouts burn fat better, but how? Studies show that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) improves insulin sensitivity by anywhere from 23-58%. This is crucial because insulin sensitivity helps boost fat loss. If you become someone who is insulin resistant, such as a diabetic, your body has more and more trouble losing fat. Dr. Len Kravitz, one of my favorite exercise physiologists, also explains that HIIT increases post-exercise energy expenditure, also known as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (E.P.O.C). Kravitz notes that after a HIIT session, “oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure remain elevated as the working muscle cells restore physiological and metabolic factors in the cell to pre-exercise levels. This translates into higher and longer post-exercise caloric burn.”
In simpler terms, this means that after a HIIT workout, your body will continue to burn more calories than it would after a lower impact, steady state exercise, such as walking or jogging. Not only that, but HIIT workouts cause a spike in two key hormones: epinephrine and norepinheprine, which play an important role in fat loss. These two hormones (sometimes referred to as adrenaline and noradrenaline: the fight or flight hormones) are responsible for driving lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fat. Interestingly enough, a study from the Journal of Obesity noted that HIIT may play an especially key role in decreasing abdominal fat stores—that visceral fat that surrounds the organs in your stomach, and coincidentally, the area so many of us struggle to lose weight around.
The bottom line is this: if you’re struggling to lose excess weight and you feel like you’ve tried everything else—clean eating, consistent workouts, etc—it’s time to consider HIIT training. No one can spot-reduce their way to flat abs overnight, but it is possible to burn more fat more efficiently by incorporating High Intensity Interval Training if you’re currently just doing Low Intensity Steady State cardio or weight training.
Some of my favorite HIIT workouts utilize the Tabata method, which consists of 20 second intervals of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of recovery, for eight cycles in a row. I’ve been teaching HIIT classes for years and have seen lots of my participants change their bodies and fitness level with consistent HIIT training. Yes it’s intense, but if you ease into it and listen to your body, you really can boost your body’s fat burning abilities. We have a guide to HIIT workouts for beginners to help you get started—and of course, if you’re ready to jump in with two feet, then check out Get Healthy U TV and do a HIIT workout with me!
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