Physical inactivity is a worldwide epidemic that has led to cardiovascular disease becoming one of the most common causes of death.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. While many fail to reach that, many who do meet the requirement aren’t exercising intensely enough. New research is saying you have to make those exercise sessions count or else you won’t be receiving much cardiovascular benefit.
Don’t Hit Cardio, HIIT Cardio!
While many believe cardio is the key to losing weight, it simply is not. Numerous studies have shown that consistent cardio-only workouts result in initial weight loss, but after a short period of time, weight plateaus and could even go back up. Why is that?
Humans are great at adapting, and this goes for exercising as well. Doing the same cardio week after week will only get your body used to it. Your body learns to store some energy specifically for that cardio session, so while you feel like you are burning fat, you aren’t. In fact, once you get to that point in the workout where the stores are up, your body starts using muscle as an energy source, not fat. It seems strange, but without adding resistance training or making the cardio dynamic, cardio won’t benefit you as much as you think.
This is where HIIT comes into play.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. As the name suggests, this type of workouts features repeated intervals of intense exercise and rest. You go all out for 30 seconds to a minute, then rest, and then repeat a desired amount of times. With HIIT you can turn any ordinary workout into a short yet killer one.
Science backs HIIT workouts too! There have been a number of studies to prove whether or not HIIT workouts are actually the most effective way to workout, and they all came to the same result: It works. For any type of individual, they lost the most weight while putting on lean muscle doing HIIT workouts. Here are some of the benefits of HIIT:
- Maximize weight loss
- Incinerate fat
- Builds lean muscle
- Significantly reduces risk for cardiovascular disease (much more than cardio alone)
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Controls appetite and blood sugar
Is HIIT Best for Fat Loss?
Science backs HIIT as one of the best ways to melt fat. Studies placed individuals into three groups: cardio only, weight training only, or HIIT. Of course individuals burned more calories doing cardio rather than weight training, and built more muscle doing weight training rather than cardio. But the surprising result is that HIIT beat the other two groups in every aspect. This is because HIIT combines the best of both worlds and the results are magnified.
Does HIIT Build Muscle?
While one can receive the benefit of both cardio and weight training doing HIIT, remember you are getting a blend of results. That means individuals can definitely build muscle, but they shouldn’t expect bulging biceps or anything unrealistic. Remember that you are burning an insane amount of calories and moving a lot. You also shouldn’t be using heavy weights. Therefore HIIT will retain and build some lean muscle.
How Often Should I Train?
HIIT workouts are intense. Yes it may offer the best weight loss opportunity, but the intensity means you shouldn’t be doing them every day. Just adding one day of HIIT will already make a huge difference, so there is no need to do it all week. It’s recommended to do 1-3 sessions of HIIT every week. 3 is more for experienced individuals.
Another point to make is that you shouldn’t be switching all your workouts to HIIT either. The same principle discussed earlier about cardio, applies here as well. In fact, it applies to a lot. HIIT workouts are super effective because they are dynamic and different, but doing the same thing over and over means your body will adjust to it. While it still will offer a better benefit than cardio, you won’t be maximizing your weight loss just doing HIIT. Instead, a combination of different types of exercises and workouts will melt that fat right off.
When people reach a plateau or see weight creep back up, they oftentimes point to diet as the cause. Sometimes it is, but there are times when you know your diet has been on point. Exercise should also be a focal point when it comes to weight loss. Having a great exercise plan and really sticking to it with intensity will really help keep the weight down.
Because your body gets used to cardio, and weight lifting doesn’t burn many calories, HIIT workouts can be the best choice to jumpstart weight loss and keep it going. HIIT combines the benefits cardio and weight training, leaving individuals slimmer yet more toned than ever. The workouts are intense, so start off slow and get accustomed to it.
Are HIIT workouts something you are interested in? With Modern Fit, your coach can create a custom HIIT workout that fits your lifestyle and physical limitations. You’ll also receive a tailored meal plan that comes with complete, tasty recipes and grocery lists. Say goodbye to boring food and workouts, and get Modern Fit! Sign up for a 7 day trial today!