Friday, March 15, 2019

Why HIIT is the Best Type of Exercise for Losing Weight

Why do you work out? If you answered, “To lose weight,” you are in good company, since this is one of the main reasons people name for exercising. Despite this desire, however, less than 5% of adults get the recommended amount of daily exercise, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Why the disconnect? 

There are many reasons that keep people from working out, but often it’s just too overwhelming to get started. Should you take up running? Join a gym? Lift weights? Take an aerobics class? However, if your goal is to lose weight, then high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is the best type of exercise, especially when compared to steady-state cardio, like jogging.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is a form of exercise that combines intense periods of exercise with short recovery periods. During the high-intensity intervals, the aim is for your heart rate to reach 80% to 90% of your max. If you aren’t sure what that looks like, a good test is to see if you can talk. If you can say more than a few words, you need to push yourself harder.

Why is HIIT Better than Other Types of Exercise?

While all physical activity will help you burn calories, HIIT has many advantages over other methods of working out. Here are five reasons why HIIT is a better way to exercise if you want to lose weight.

Continue to Burn Calories After the Workout

HIIT works by burning fat and not muscle and by stimulating this effect to continue after the workout is over. This happens because the short intense intervals push your body into an anaerobic state where the body uses its energy reserves. Since each interval uses more oxygen than the average low-intensity workout, your body will burn more calories.

You can thank an effect called EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, for helping to burn calories even once you’re done working out. And the higher the intensity, the higher the EPOC effect.

Can Use Any Exercise as a Base for HIIT

The form of exercise that will help you lose the most weight is the one you are willing to do and stick with. Although no fancy equipment is needed – HIIT workouts can be done using body weight alone – you can do a HIIT workout with weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, dancing and more. As long as you use the main principles of reaching your maximum intensity level for short an interval followed by a rest period, you will get the benefits of a HIIT workout. One HIIT workout won’t cause you to lose all the weight you want to lose. Consistency is key.

Endless Variety for all Levels

Microsoft released a study a few years ago that suggested that the average human adult has an attention span of 8 seconds, comically adding that this is less than that of a goldfish. Whether the number is truly 8 seconds, there's no denying that the human attention span has shortened in the digital age.

That’s why HIIT is so great. Short sprints are easier to maintain than long, boring, steady-state exercises. There are endless varieties to HIIT workouts, so you can mix it up before you lose interest. This variety means that you’re less likely to plateau as you become stronger. There’s always a way to make the workout more advanced.

More Enjoyable

Losing weight is difficult, there’s no sugar-coating it (sorry to mention sugar to someone who is trying to lose weight). Even if you never come to love any form of exercise, it’s easy to argue that HIIT is more enjoyable (or at least less miserable) than other forms of working out. Which would you prefer:

  • Long hours running on the track or quick bursts of high energy whose benefits continue after you end your workout? 
  • The same workout every single day or multiple routines that give you the same result?

The latter in both circumstances, right? If you find an exercise that is more enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it and thus more likely to lose weight.

Takes Up Less Time

If you want to lose weight but think you don’t have enough time in your busy schedule, then you need to try HIIT. Most HIIT workouts are under 30 minutes and because of their intensity, you only have to complete them a couple of times a week to see results. If you’re serious about losing weight, then you need to make it as easy as possible for yourself. You can remove the obstacle of a huge time commitment by using interval training.

Get Started with HIIT Today

Convinced of the benefits but unsure where to start? That’s where Sprinterval comes in. Our sprint interval training app makes it easy to get started with HIIT workouts. Download the app and start working out harder, not longer, today.


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