High-intensity interval training, which is more commonly referred to as HIIT, has burst into popularity in recent times. HIIT is a very efficient and effective manner of improving cardiovascular fitness in those who have never trained before.
It can promote considerable fitness benefits both aerobically and anaerobically – hence why it is incorporated into the training programmes of athletes training at high levels. HIIT is also the cardio of choice for those who are trying to gain muscle. Carrying out explosive forms of cardio will enable muscle gain as well as increase it.
Many of you may have heard of the Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata who was first mentioned in Muscle Media magazine in 2001. The “Tabata” training method has been a new widespread fitness craze since then. Tabata’s method involved a four minute warm up carried out at 50% max effort, followed by 8 x 20 seconds of high-intensity sprints carried out on a stationary bike with a 10 second “active rest” slower cycling before starting again.
“Tabata” training can be seen now as using a mixture of exercises from sprinting to squatting. There is nothing wrong with involving a variety of exercises. What is important to remember is, you can’t expect the same cardiovascular results from intervals of front squats compared to intervals of sprints or burpees.
There can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to HIIT training and weight loss. There are very few studies on this subject. Research carried out in Canada and Australia found that their participants did not lose or lost very little weight during their studies. Cardiovascular fitness levels saw improvements and body composition and skin fold tests showed that the body fat of the participants had reduced. These studies carried out a couple of 20 minute HIIT sessions per week, each session having about 200 calories burned.
So weight was maintained but body fat lost…hmmm!
In simpler terms, if you have a lot of weight to lose a few HIIT workouts per week will not be enough on its own to shed it but may help you to decrease body fat. Adding it into your weekly workout schedule and changing your eating habits will be of more benefit when trying to lose weight.
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