Are HIIT workouts effective for weight loss is a commonly asked question. But there are some things you need to know about HIIT workouts before deciding to do them. This post will explain what these types of activities are, how they are effective, and when you should do them.
So What Is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Basically, you increase, then decrease the speed at which you perform something (exercise or range of motion) at set intervals—at the same time, resting for certain times in between.
This could be done in second or minute increments. For example, you could do high knees for 30 seconds at a slow pace, increase your speed by double for another 30 seconds, and slow down for the last 30 seconds.
Many other exercises can be performed under HIIT, such as; mountain climbers, burpees, treadmills, and other bodyweight exercises.
Whichever your timing sequence is for your sets, it would constitute one round. So if you were jump roping, for example, one round would be; 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow, 30 seconds fast, rest 60 seconds.
There is no critical timing for HIIT workouts. This is dependent on the routine you are following or have been given. It could even just be your timing.
Are HIIT Workouts Effective For Weight Loss?
Let Us Explore 5 Benefits Of HIIT Workouts
HIIT workouts are effective for weight loss in several ways. But one of the most practical reasons for HIIT training is that the results are achieved over a shorter period.
This type of training may assist in burning more calories than conventional circuit training or exercising. However, you are spending less time doing it.
This is often a go-to workout for those pressed for time during the day.
Benefit 1 – HIIT Workouts and Fat Loss
Fat loss as a broad topic can often be misunderstood. When we think about fat loss, we think about just losing the fat on the outer part of our bodies.
In truth, there is much risk of internal fat as there is external fat.
Yes, we all want to lose the fat seen on the outside, but we often overlook the disease-promoting fat that surrounds our organs—also known as visceral fat.
According to a study, HIIT workouts were shown to reduce visceral fat by 17% over 12 weeks.
Benefit 2 – Oxygen Consumption and Blood Stroke Volume
Various studies on HIIT workouts have proven their effectiveness of it to a degree. Oxygen consumption refers to the ability your muscles have to use oxygen. Typically this is done with steady-state cardio such as running, cycling, rowing, or power walking.
Cardio training refers to the cardiovascular function of your lungs. In other words, cardio exercise will increase lung capacity. Therefore improving your ability to consume oxygen within your muscles.
This is the conventional methodology behind cardio training. However, studies show that HIIT workouts can produce the same results as cardio training. But in a shorter time.
Blood stroke volume is the measurement of the blood being pumped out of your heart during each contraction. HIIT workouts have been evidenced to increase blood stroke volume.
This is why people that work in sedentary positions all day (without moving or exercising) run the risk of lower blood stroke volume and are at risk of heart disease.
Conventional exercising training increases the blood stroke volume of your heart. However, there is evidence that HIIT workouts can also increase your blood stroke volume, but in a short period.
Benefit 3 – Weight Loss vs. Muscle Loss
In a broader comparison of weight loss and muscle development, the two are opposites. The body processes required for weight loss differ from muscle building.
When you want to build muscle, you will eat a diet required to increase muscle size and density. When you reach your "off-season," you will cut off excess fat. During this time, you will lose a diminutive muscle size as well. For the most part, this is unavoidable.
When you change your diet to suit your weight loss goals, you will also start exercising accordingly. Regular exercising will begin to trigger the fat-burning process, and muscle development will decrease.
However, some studies show HIIT workouts can promote weight loss while keeping your muscle tone and definition.
How High-Intensity Interval Training workouts are conducted is explosive movements. These are often found in weight lifting exercises. Thus triggering the growth receptors in the muscles.
You won't necessarily build muscle, but you will be keeping them working and engaged the whole time. Therefore maintaining the state in which they currently are.
Your muscles may even appear more toned and defined. Awesome!
Benefit 4 – Versatile and Dynamic
What makes HIIT workouts so brilliant is that they are versatile and dynamic. You can do them from anywhere, as most of them are just using your body weight.
They are great if you are pressed for time and looking for a workout at home that you can do instead.
Of course, you can do HIIT with bikes, treadmills, or rowers, but you also don't need them. Therefore the requirement for having equipment on hand is removed.
High-Intensity Interval Training is based on the increase in heart rate. Not muscle fatigue. So using something like dumbbells would not target heart rate before muscle fatigue.
Of course, your heart rate will still increase, but you will burn out quickly due to your muscles fatiguing first.
Benefit 5 – Mentally Rewarding
I love this part about HIIT workouts! It keeps you constantly working and pushing yourself.
Unlike cardio exercises where you can chat to your friends or read a book, HIIT makes you work non-stop.
Comradery and teamwork are necessary for training and motivation, but some fall into a trap.
Sometimes we become more engrossed in the conversation between our training partners rather than the training itself.
When you do HIIT workouts, it is you and yourself. Of course, these workouts can be done in groups, but there is no chatting.
This is what makes them so great. Plus, the chance of boredom is almost slim to none.
So Are HIIT Workouts Effective For Weight Loss?
HIIT workouts are dynamic and can be done everywhere, including in your own home!
Well, I would say that performing HIIT workouts about four times a week for around 20mins at a time should be sufficient for maximum results.
Please note that specific HIIT workouts do require plyometric exercises. These can be pretty difficult on your joints as they usually are quite a high impact.
For example, the Beach Body Insanity workout is exceptionally high impact. I may receive a commission if you choose to purchase it. This is at NO extra cost to you) is extremely high impact. I do it twice a year. It works every time I am looking to cut off some fat coming up to the summer.
It is a strong recommendation, but I strongly advise you to get yourself checked by a medical professional.
There are, of course, many different HIIT workouts on the market. You need to play around and find the ones that you enjoy.