In recent years, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has gained a lot of attention as a highly efficient training tool for both beginners and advanced athletes to transform their physique and performance. That is exactly why we implement HIIT into every single session we run.
Here is a list of 3 benefits that HIIT provides:
1. Extreme Fat Burning
For many years you have probably heard the general recommendation that to burn fat you need to hop on the treadmill and get in your “fat burning zone”. This is largely a myth and there IS a better, more efficient way!
In one study, subjects completed a total of 7 HIIT sessions over the course of a 2 week period. It was recorded that, following the 2 weeks, subjects experienced an average increase in fat oxidation (burning) rates of 36%! (Talanian et al., 2007) That’s an insane increase, and one that could lead to much faster results, and less frustration.
2. Improved Aerobic Fitness
Aerobic fitness is the body’s ability to consume and recycle oxygen for the production of ATP during exercise. In research, we refer to this ability with the term Vo2 Max (i.e. what is the numerical value for the max amount of oxygen your body can consume efficiently during exercise).
A higher Vo2 Max is a good thing to have! It’s why those sprints in secondary school sports got easier as the term went on.
There has been a plethora of studies showing HIIT’s ability to increase Vo2 Max, even in highly trained athletes. This increase in Vo2 Max is also better than increases you would normally see from traditional cardio in only 5 to 10% of the time (Paton et al., 2014; Nybo et al., 2012; Rakobowchuk et al., 2008).
This is one of the coolest benefits of HIIT that research has shown. What if you applied HIIT to a circuit style of training, lifting weights?
The answer: AFTERBURN! Increased resting metabolic rate and the ability to burn more calories and more body fat AFTER the cardio session has ended, (bearing in mind that traditional cardio does not create this kind of response in the body).
In one study, a group of subjects performed a HIIT-style weight lifting routine (aka High Intensity Resistance Training) with short rest periods (20 seconds) and high volume. The other performed a traditional lifting routine (i.e. 4 sets, 8-12 reps, and rest periods of 1-2 minutes)
The group that performed the HIIT-style routine significantly increased their ability to burn MORE calories throughout the day, AFTER the session was over, indicating an
increase in Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) and therefore an improved ability to lose fat! (Paoli et al., 2012)