We all know that cardio can be, at times, extremely boring. Running on the treadmill or going at it on a stationary bike doesn’t seem to be challenging and, to make things worse, it’s impact on fat burning can often be pretty poor.
What if we told you that you can spend less time in the gym and yet still burn more fat? This may sound like nonsense to you, but there’s actually a science-based training method that can boost your energy expenditure and calorie burning, way beyond the time you are at the gym.
We’re talking about High-Intensity Interval Training, commonly referred to as HIIT.
HIIT is a training method that focuses on intensity rather than duration, as opposed to conventional cardio workouts. In this type of training you alternate between periods of low to moderate intensity and periods of high intensity.
That means that instead of running on the treadmill at a steady pace for 20 minutes you will be alternating between moderate activity (eg: 50 seconds running at a stable pace) and intense bursts of activity (eg: 10 seconds sprinting).
And the best thing is that HIIT is less time-consuming than traditional cardio. As research shows, HIIT can improve both aerobic and anaerobic systems and burn fat faster with less time required.
It’s a scientific fact that your metabolism remains elevated for many hours after leaving the gym. Even when you’re at home, you continue to burn calories at a higher rate than normal.
This phenomenon is known as EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). As long as the body is recovering from a workout, the metabolism will remain accelerated. So, the higher the exercise-induced muscle damage is the longer you’ll be burning calories and fat.
High-intensity interval training is the best way to induce damage to the muscles fibres and speed up your metabolism (1).
There are other ways HIIT contributes to losing weight fast besides boosting your metabolism. Scientific studies have also demonstrated HIIT’s role in increasing the amount of muscle enzymes that help use fat as fuel (2) and the number of proteins that transport fats to the mitochondria, where they will be metabolized for fuel (3).
This means that, high-intensity interval training is a very efficient way of getting fitter and lose weight fast without having to spend uncountable hours at the gym. Next time you hit the gym, try to add some intensity to your exercises, either by reducing resting pauses or by doing some circuit training.