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6 Ways High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Results

6 Ways High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Results

We all want a quick fix, we don’t want to spend hours at the gym or scrutinizing every meal we eat just to find out we have only lost a pound after a month’s work. Though there is no magic pill that we can take to lose the extra weight overnight, there is an effective fat loss method that will keep burning fat up to 48 hours after a workout, and it’s called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.

HIIT is not universally known amongst the non-gym rats, as it is a method used by fitness models and endurance athletes to increase their metabolisms and to melt the fat away faster before any competition. It is a form of interval training, performed in short anaerobic bursts with fewer and briefer rest periods. It is considered to be the most effective cardio exercise that can be performed under 30 minutes almost anywhere.

If you want to stop sacrificing your sacred time on the treadmill, read below to learn how HIIT can help you achieve your desired lean body.

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training means performing a short number of bursts of intense exercise, such as biking, sprinting, swimming, skipping rope, knee highs, followed by short recovery periods, such as walking. The purpose of the short recovery period is to bring your heart rate back to normal before performing the next anaerobic burst.

This is different than regular endurance exercise as the routine never allows your body to adjust to one intensity level, giving your body the shock it needs to start using the fat as fuel for your workout. Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running on the treadmill for a consistent time at a consistent speed, causes muscle catabolism, the breakdown of muscle tissue, creating the ‘skinny fat’ look that many wish to stay away from. Muscle catabolism can even last up to 7 days after the steady-state cardio took place.

How Do You Perform HIIT?

The beauty of HIIT is that you can customize it to your body type and needs and still get results. I don’t recommend jumping right into HIIT as it can take a toll on those who have heart conditions or early signs of arthritis, so please consult your doctor first to see if this is right for you.

If you decide that you want to try HIIT, first figure out the type of cardiovascular exercise that you like best. Here is a list of some common exercises that are used for HIIT training:

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  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Jumping Rope
  • Running up Stairs
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Knee-ups
  • Jumping Jacks

HIIT can also be performed with kettle bells, yoga balls, and various other equipment, but this is for the advanced folk.

Jim Stoppanl, Ph.D. from BodyBuilding.com has the best beginner’s plan for HIIT training:

Phase 1 - HIIT Training

    Phase 2 - HIIT Training

      Phase 3 -HIIT Training

        Phase 4 - HIIT Training

          Now onto the HIIT benefits!

          1. Burns Fat Faster & Longer

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          Burn up to 48 hours of fat after a HIIT exercise

            A 2001 study from East Tennessee State University concluded that subjects who followed an 8-week HIIT program, dropped 2% in body fat compared to the 0% that was dropped by subjects that underwent a continuous steady-state program. The same study also stated that the subject who followed the above program burned almost 100 more calories per day during the 24-hours after each exercise.

            Regular steady-state cardiovascular exercise helps you burn calories during your workout, but with HIIT, you can burn calories just by sitting or sleeping after you have finished a workout! It is no wonder that so many athletes and fitness fanatics are using HIIT to their advantage and shedding off the last pounds of weight before any competition. However, you don’t need to be a participant of a competition to have a reason to start HIIT training – think of bathing suit season, the next big birthday party, a wedding or just your health.

            2. Saves You Time 

            Fast fat loss results with HIIT

              You can find them at almost any gym, on a treadmill or elliptical, running at the same speed four to five times a week hoping to reach their weight loss goals. They look miserable, tired and mentally exhausted from performing the same thing over and over again with very little result. Then you step up on the said treadmill and press the big green button to initiate the repetitive routine you call exercise. The term that is generally associated with people who cannot seem to cut the cord from the aerobic machines is cardio bunny. If you are sweating your life away on any cardio machine, four to five times a week, 30-60 minutes per day – please STOP. You are only damaging yourself and wasting your time.

              The general excuse of not having enough time for exercise goes out the window as HIIT can be tailored to your time limit while burning fat every single time you perform the routine. This means that you do not have to spend hours on the elliptical, instead performing HIIT three times a week maximum for about 14-25 minutes is enough to give you results while drastically improving your general well-being.

              3. Location Does NOT Matter

              Perform HIIT virtually anywhere, no need for a gym membership

                Have a track next to your house? How about a swimming pool or a stadium? Do you have some extra space in your living room, or how about your basement? High Intensity Interval Training can be performed absolutely anywhere!

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                If there’s a deadly snow storm outside and you don’t want to make the trip to the gym – no problem! Simply put on some comfortable working-out clothes and start doing HIIT right at home. You do you not need that treadmill or elliptical that’s covered in dust in your garage or any fancy workout equipment, just use your body to perform the HIIT exercises and you’ll be sweating in no time.

                Also, since there are no limits in terms of gear, you can switch up your routine every two weeks to ensure that you will NOT be bored. After all, boredom and repetition are a major reason why many of us stop going to the gym in the first place.

                4. Endurance

                 

                HIIT helps you perform better in long term runs

                  Though there is a vast amount of skeptical research out there, for the most part, athletes, competitors and trainers vouch for HIIT as a great way to quickly increase endurance. Endurance is particularly important if you’re planning on running in a long race, training for obstacle races or if you’re tired of being tired after going up a flight of stairs. This is a great way to make your body use to short bursts of energy that occur after a sedative state. For example, catching up with a bus that you’ve almost missed, playing with kids, chasing your dog down the street after it spotted a cat. If you are experiencing a shortness of breath, dizziness and muscle cramps as soon as you start doing something active, then slowly incorporating HIIT into your regular schedule is something for you.

                  5. Preserves Muscle Mass

                  Save your lean muscle with HIIT

                    If you want a lean body that has some definition, then doing continuous steady-state cardio is not going to give you the results you want. HIIT decreases the chances that your body will use your muscles as fuel, therefore preserves your lean mass, something that does not happen if you engage in regular cardio sessions. By conserving your muscles, you will maintain your strength while improving your endurance.

                    In fact, a Laval University study concluded that in addition to a decrease in body fat after a HIIT training program, the subjects’ muscle fibers had substantial higher markers for fat burning than those in the steady-state exercise group. So remember, being a cardio bunny will help you burn calories but you will always be disappointed at the results as a dip in the scale will mean a decrease in muscle mass not body fat.

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                    6. Faster Results Than Traditional Cardio

                     

                    Fast weight loss results with HIIT

                      When comparing steady-state cardio to high intensity interval training, I like to use the following example. Imagine you’re in traffic and you’re moving inch by inch, always revving that engine in frustration, sometimes even fully turning off the engine and back on out of sheer boredom. What happens to the gas? You use up way more than a car that is driving at a steady state from point A to point B. This is the same idea with HIIT. Since you are constantly stopping and going and pushing yourself to the maximum, you are using way more energy than someone who is running at 5 miles an hour for 30 minutes, therefore speeding up your metabolism. HIIT stimulates the production of your human growth hormone by 450 percent during the 24 hours after you complete your workout. Hence, you burn more calories, shredding the fat much faster and more effectively than traditional cardio.

                      However, if you think that you can get the results you want without changing your diet, think again. HIIT is most effective when paired with a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, lean meat and enriched carbohydrates. Eating a burger a day will certainly diminish any results achieved with a proper HIIT program. For faster results, incorporate weight training 3 times a week along with 2-3 HIIT work-outs.

                      Conclusion

                      Following the latest fad diet or mindlessly moving on that treadmill that we all so love to hate will not get you the body that you desire. High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to increase your performance, shred that unwanted body weight and save you time and patience. We all have it in us to achieve the things that we desire — our health should not be an exception. 

                      Featured photo credit: Nicola Albertini via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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