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High Intensity Interval Training For Maximum Fat Loss

girl sprinting at the track

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. HIIT is an exercise method in which you switch back and forth between short intervals of high intensity exercise, followed by short rest or recovery periods.

Studies have shown that HIIT can be effective for both sprinters and endurance athletes and it can be incorporated into just about any training protocol whether it be weight training, sprinting, rowing, climbing, or sport specific workouts.

The key is to pick exercises that use the majority of muscle groups. Using HIIT for isolation exercises will be ineffective. However, using them for full body exercises like sprinting, squats, deadlifts, and plyometrics will really kick your fat loss into high gear.

Benefits of HIIT Training

The benefits of HIIT training are several-fold. Probably one of the biggest benefits is that HIIT usually lasts only 20 minutes or less. This enables just about anyone to be able to get in a great workout regardless of their busy schedules. After all, we can all wake up 30 minutes earlier to get in a workout.

The best thing is that this short 20 minute workout will probably be one of the toughest you will ever do. By working at close to your maximal heart rate, you will be burning the most calories, and causing the most physiological changes to your body that will be beneficial to fat loss.

Not only will you burn fat during your workout, but you will continue to burn fat throughout the rest of the day through EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC is the measurable increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body's oxygen debt [1].

In order to erase the body's oxygen debt, fatty acids are released and used as fuel for recovery. This all happens in the time after a workout is complete. You will not receive this great benefit simply doing low intensity exercise. You need to be working out in your anaerobic zone at maximal heart rates to really see that added fat loss effect.

This EPOC has been shown to last for over 24 hours. While this is a great benefit, it also means you need to be allowing yourself plenty of recovery time between workouts - at least 48 hours.

Why Does HIIT Training Work

To sum up why HIIT works so well, lets recap:

HIIT Workouts

The combinations are endless when it comes to HIIT workouts. We could do any combination of intervals, but here are a few examples:

HIIT training for on the track:

Off the track you will want to do similar intervals, but use time as a measurement instead of distance:

HIIT training in the gym:

By now you should have the idea. The key is to do a full body exercise for a certain period of time, and follow it up with a short rest interval, and then get right back into it.

Yes, you are going to be breathing hard and not fully recovered before you start your next working set, but that's what makes HIIT so effective. Your goal is to be able to work out at a high intensity for a longer period of time with less and less rest between intervals.

To progress with HIIT, you are going to want to vary your interval times. Try lowering the amount of rest time between high intensity intervals, or try jogging instead of walking. Try shaving just 5 seconds off of every rest interval each time you work out. Eventually, you will be sprinting at a higher speed for a longer period of time than when you started.

Why not give high-intensity interval training a try. You don't need to do it every single workout, but maybe do it once a week to start to see how it goes. Be sure to give yourself a good warm up period to prevent injury, and be sure you have an interval timer to use to keep track of your interval times. Good luck! I wish you great fat loss in your future.

This article is by Tony Schober, CPT from

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