Monday, June 16, 2014

High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to incinerate body fat?

Everyone loves to throw around the word cardio to burn calories, lose weight, and get into shape, but most people don’t realize there are different types of cardiovascular exercise that impact the body in different ways such as recovery time, body fat loss, muscle loss, calories burned.  Two major types of cardio are HIIT and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio), and each one has its place in a healthy active lifestyle.
Many people claim HIIT is much better than LISS when it comes to burning calories, body fat, and getting in shape.  In order to see just how beneficial HIIT really is I spent a few days researching the topic and this is what I have found:


An example of HIIT would be sprinting for 15-60 seconds at 90-100% effort followed by a 30-120 second active recovery of walking or light jogging. This allows people to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time due to the high intensity bursts. These workouts typically can only last about 10-15 minutes due to the high level of intensity.


HIIT will increase endurance capacity and cardiovascular health.  This is nothing different from what LISS can do for you.  In fact LISS is more effective at increasing endurance capacity since it is performed for longer duration's.  Since HIIT is a high intensity training system it will burn a lot of calories very quickly.  Some people will say that training at high intensities will allow your body to burn far more calories for the remainder of the day.  I personally have not seen conclusive research on this and have never heard any exercise professionals with degrees discuss this potential benefit.  So I say take that theory with a grain of salt. Some people say that HIIT will burn more body fat than LISS but this is not necessarily true.  Any differences between the amount of actual body fat burned between HIIT and LISS will be extremely insignificant.  The primary factor determining fat loss will be overall calories burned, and if your overall calories burned exceeds your overall calorie intake.

Downsides of HIIT.

HIIT will almost definitely decrease your recovery ability if you are weight training with beneficial amount of intensity and/or volume.  This can lead to decreased muscular performance and possibly muscle loss. This is why it is not suggested that weight trained athletes perform HIIT to a significant degree. 

Conclusion on HIIT cardio.

Overall I personally do not feel HIIT has any real benefit over LISS.  They produce the same amount of fat loss as long as they produce the same amount of caloric burn.  They both increase cardiovascular health and endurance but LISS increases endurance more, and HIIT can impede recovery from weight training whereas LISS does not (at least to a far less significant degree).  The only real benefit I see from performing HIIT cardio would be burning calories quickly.

Check out my video on my Transformation from fat to muscular!