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High Intensity Interval Training: Does It Really Burn Fat Better?



High intensity interval training (also called high intensity intermittent exercise or sport interval training) is a radical type of training that focuses shorter periods of exercise mixed with longer periods of cooling down.  The idea is to improve condition, metabolism, and fat burning.  A typical session includes repetitions of high intensity exercises, mid intensity exercises, and cool-down exercises. Based on reviews of the pros and cons of this type of training, here’s a look on the effectiveness of HIIT.

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training:
There are three main benefits of high intensity interval training that are usually noted by its supporters, all having similar effects on the human form.  Those are aerobic benefits, metabolic benefits, and reduced instances of cardiovascular diseases.

Studies seem to show that compared to traditional endurance training, HIIT may more effectively max out the anaerobic and aerobic energy releasing systems in the body.  The studies show that this seems to improve the oxygen consumption of the trainee better than long aerobic workouts typically will.  Other aerobic benefits include increasing the maximum amount of oxygen that you can take in during exercise, which helps for running and other physically competitive sports.

Another benefit of long aerobic workouts is the effective reduction of fat.  Part of this is through the increase in resting metabolic rate, which is an effect of HIIT.  It also tends to lower insulin resistance which helps for improving oxidation of muscle fat, a key component of metabolic health.  This also helps with reducing diabetes risk since insulin levels are healthier.

The cardiovascular disease risk factors which are most common may be reduced by brief exercise as in HIIT.  Risk factors in adults may be improved through the intensity of the training.  By creating health aerobic exercise, the cardiovascular system tends to be in better condition which reduces the risk of certain diseases.

Potential Downsides and Criticism of the Method:
Some argue that this method of fitness is less effective than other cardiovascular training, and there have been suggestions of a study that backs this up.  Others argue that the recovery time of HIIT workouts does not create a training program that has enough work to stimulate fat loss.  The main criticism of high intensity interval training seems to be that it violates conventional wisdom, and this tends to make people uncomfortable. 

What Is The Outlook?:
The general overwhelming consensus seems to be positive.  The majority of researches find that calories are burned, metabolism is increased, fat is reduced, and people who participate in this type of training are generally healthy.  However, it is very physically demanding and may not be appropriate for everyone.  People with cardiovascular problems or legitimate health concerns may want to consult their physician before engaging in this type of activity, as it could be potentially harmful, at least for now. 

Aside from that, sticking to a HIIT program of between 20-30 minute cycles seems to provide positive benefits and seems to be the real deal.

Eric Davies is a fitness trainer and krav maga instructor. He also writes about the importance of staying hydrated while working hard, that’s why he uses one of his 52oz mugs at the gym.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sujeet

    July 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve long touted the benefits of HIIT.. When I used to workout, I’d do a 10-minute HIIT program on the treadmill (one minute sprinting, one minute walking, repeating that for the full 10 minutes), and the results were amazing!

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