What Is the Best Training Style for Fast Weight Loss?
What Is HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a method of exercise that increases your heart rate to its near maximum, then lowers it back down to lower levels for selected intervals of time. The workout is broken up into two primary phases, the intense phase, and the low-intensity phase. For example, Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then walk or slow jog for one minute, then repeat. The entire workout can be done efficiently in less than 25 minutes, which is precisely what many people want; more results in less time. Another added benefit of this type of training is versatility, as any exercise that increases your heart rate to a high level is considered acceptable for a HIIT routine.
How Does HIIT Work, Exactly?
Studies have proven that HIIT training is exceptionally effective for weight loss and rapid muscular endurance development, but why and how does this happen?
1) During HIIT, you exert your body and force it to work overtime. Generally, much harder than a "standard" workout, which results in more calory burn during the exercises. When your body works this hard, lactic acid builds in the muscles and oxygen stores become quickly depleted.
2) Naturally, your body tries very hard to get oxygen back into the muscles. So hard, in fact, that it may continue to do so for up to 24 hours after your workout. This is commonly referred to as the "Afterburn effect." The Afterburn effect increases your calorie burn after the exercise, while also increasing your metabolism. This is a double whammy in the fight to get inches off the waistline.
3) During recovery, your body has to work harder than a standard cardio training session due to the high level of energy expenditure being used. Even if you're just performing cardio, with HIIT, you must run faster than a jog; you're sprinting. Any exercise that focuses on short and intense "sets," if you will, promotes muscle development. That's right; you'll lose weight while maintaining muscle mass and even encourage new muscle development to get stronger.
Okay, So How Can I Apply This?
Easily, If you're willing to work hard. As I stated before, any exercise that increases your heart rate to a high level is acceptable to incorporate into this training style. The type of equipment needed is dependent on what you prefer to train with and what your primary goals are. I like to break the typical goal types into two different categories. Remember, no matter what you do to perform HIIT, during your working intensity phases of the routine, you must give it your all, with 90% of your max speed and power combined with 100% effort. The 1-2 minute lower intensity periods between are the only parts of the workout where you must still be active, but can lower effort levels down to roughly 50% - 60%.
Cardio-focused strict weight loss: If you're interested in just losing weight, then you can focus on cardio style HIIT routines either on a treadmill or outdoors. This can be done by sprinting, performing jumping jacks, or even running in place. You will quickly lose weight and skyrocket your athleticism while keeping all your muscle mass. It's common for cardio-only athletes to lack muscle mass, as your body focuses on survival, not aesthetics. On the contrary to what is commonly thought, Your body could care less what you look like. All the human body knows how to do is survive. If you're running slowly and for long distances, your expending many calories at one point in time, during the duration of the run. Afterward, the muscles don't need much repairing from such activities, and your metabolism will remain the same. Your body will notice the need for more calories to perform longer runs but does so by compensating muscle mass to reduce total calories needed to achieve longer runs. That's why long distance runners typically have much smaller frames compared to sprinters, who have more muscular structures. Sprinting causes muscular fiber teardown and results in leg muscles developing to be and look powerful.
Resistance-focused weight loss: This is the optimal style of training to lose weight and develop muscular strength and endurance while maintaining and in some cases, even slightly increasing muscle mass. You're effectively increasing your heart rate rapidly for a short period of time, but directly working muscles out while doing so. This all means that the muscles will need to be repaired following the stress of the exercise, resulting in an exponential increase of muscular endurance and promotes muscles to grow. This style of HIIT uses bodyweight, resistance bands, free weights or even machines to perform. You may also utilize multiple types of exercises for these particular routines as well. For example, complete as many push-up burpees as you can in 30 seconds, then perform high knees in-place for a minute or two at a slower pace, then complete as many mountain climbers as you can in 30 seconds, so on and so forth.
Of course, it's perfectly fine to compliment a strict weight-training routine with a day or two of cardio focused HIIT per week on your rest days from weightlifting. This will increase your overall endurance, help shred body fat, and promote your muscle's to continue to grow.
HIIT Workout For Beginners
I will always have my new clients perform cardio based intervals when they are first starting out. This sets a foundation for health and fitness that will translate to all their workouts in the future and their everyday life. It's essential to have a healthy heart, and it's vital to be able to sprint and not just once for a short period of time. Sprinting is considered a very functional exercise. This makes sense because if you needed to run away from a threat, outrunning it is going to be way more beneficial than being able to run for an hour. It also shows weight concerned individuals results quicker for their primary goal to lose weight. Once an individual notices significant weight loss, it's important to take that momentum and continue forward for more results. For this routine, keep it simple. Each week, perform two sessions. Each session, complete three to five circuits (depending on fitness levels) of sprinting and fast walking. Every week or two that goes by that you are successfully performing the desired amount of circuits, add an additional circuit to the routine. You may also decrease the amount of time between your sprints, but try not to increase your sprinting time by much, if at all.
For example, the routine should look like this:
Cardio Focused HIIT for Beginners
WEEKS ONE & TWO
WEEKS THREE & FOUR
WEEKS FIVE & SIX
WEEKS SEVEN & EIGHT
3 Sets of 30 second sprints
4 Sets of 30 second sprints
5 Sets of 30 second sprints
5 Sets of 30 second sprints
3 Sets of 120 second fast walking
4 Sets of 90 second fast walking
5 Sets of 60 second fast walking
5 Sets of 60 second slow jogs
Amazing video that demonstrates a 10-minute at home routine with no equipment needed.
Don't Overdo It!
With everything you've learned from reading this article, keep in mind that High-Intensity Interval Training is very demanding on your body, particularly your nervous system. It's very easy to over-train when utilizing HIIT, especially as a beginner. Overtraining is detrimental to overall development and will make you lose progress or even face an injury.
© 2018 Dominic Vaughn