HIIT for Optimal Fat Burn

How many times have you walked in to the gym, looked over to the cardio section and seen the ‘daily walkers’ on the treadmill? I’m guessing it’s more than a handful of times. Gyms up and down the country have members that swear by this type of cardio for fat burn; heck you may even be one of them. The diagrams of the ‘fat burning zone’ indicate that a reduced intensity burns more fat, hence  why this type of cardio has become common place.

But, what if I was to tell you that this wasn’t an optimal approach to fat burn? You could be wasting hours upon hours; often seeing minimal results, if any.

A study conducted in 1994 at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada) found that young men and women that followed a 15 week HIIT programme, lost significantly more body fat than the young men and women who followed a 20 week LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) programme. They even found that the LISS group burned 15,000 more calories than the HIIT group!

HIIT uses glucose as an energy source whilst training. Once the exercise has finished, your body switches over from your glucose stores to your fat stores for fuel. There is a significant increase in the calories burned in the 24hr period following the workout when compared to LISS, a 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) reported.

When attempting HIIT, it is advisable to take in to account your current state of fitness and well-being due to the nature of the exercise. The following outline will give you an insight into a modified ‘Wingate’ approach, and is to be performed on a static bike, using 6 x 30s sprints : 90s rest periods.

A warm-up of 5 minutes on the static bike should be carried out prior to beginning the exercise, with the bike resistance to 50% of the maximal resistance. When the 5 minutes is up, sprint as fast a you can for the first 10s. After 10s has been completed, increase the resistance to maximum level, and sprint as hard as you can for the remaining 20s. Then, take the resistance to an ‘easy level’ for 90s. Repeat the sprints 5 more times to complete the 6 sprints, using the same 90s rest periods in between.



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