Monday, July 22, 2019

The Truth About HIIT Workouts vs Running

Have you been looking for a way to accelerate your weight loss and improve muscle tone? Then this may be the most important article you read all year.

You see, one of the most beneficial workouts that people neglect to do is HIIT (high-intensity interval training). But it turns out that HIIT workouts not only burn more fat faster. They also increase your speed, improve your health, and define your muscles.

And they do all of this better than long distance running or jogging.
Curious about how HIIT works? Read on to find out more about the benefits…

HIIT workouts help you lose more weight

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 22.9 percent of adults in the US get enough exercise. CDC guidelines suggest that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 get 75 minutes of “vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity” per week or 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.”

The truth is a little different though. The type of activity you do actually matters more than the number of minutes you clock.

Fitness experts say that you only need 15 to 30 minutes per week of HIIT to accelerate fat loss. When you do HIIT, you perform aerobic exercise at close to your maximum intensity level for just a few minutes, and then you slow down to a moderate walking speed for a break. You then do another interval of all-out effort. Each high-intensity interval is called a sprint.

These short intervals of high-intensity exercise send signals to your cells to burn fat in order to have enough energy for the intensity level. Long bouts of running, on the other hand, signal to your body to hang on to fat deposits in order to not run out of energy for the long exertion ahead.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the CDC has it all wrong. Humans need lots of physical activity. And when you're not sprinting, moderate-intensity walking (or similar activities like casual swimming, cycling, or dancing) should be a daily occurrence.

How do you know if you’re working hard enough for your exercise to be considered HIIT? Your heart rate should reach 80 to 90 percent of your max. But if you don’t want to mess with measurements, you should make sure that you aren’t able to carry on a conversation during the workout. This is not a brisk walk while you chat.

Sprinting also causes you to work anaerobically, meaning your muscles are not getting fully fueled by oxygen. That leads to the afterburn effect, also called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. That sounds complicated, but what it means for your weight loss is that you continue burning calories even after you have stopped working out. The afterburn effect occurs because your body is still recovering from the high-intensity exercise.

Moderate intensity exercise, like a casual jog, does not cause the afterburn effect, so you don’t burn more calories after the workout is over.

Sprint intervals increase running speed

When we talk about running and fitness, we often think about marathons and endurance. But long-distance running doesn't necessarily make you faster. Even if you are training for a marathon, incorporating HIIT workouts can help you increase your speed.

Part of the reason that HIIT increases speed is that it builds muscle faster than long-distance running. When you sprint, you engage the large muscle groups in your lower body in order to create that burst of speed. The more those muscles are trained, the bigger burst of speed and energy they can release.

Because sprinting increases mitochondrial function, it actually improves performance for long distance runners and cyclists, as well as sprinters. Of course you’ll need to continue training at long distances, but sprints will improve your overall athletic ability for running and cycling. It makes you more powerful and makes your energy expenditure more efficient.

So if you’re planning to train for a marathon, incorporating shorter sprinting sessions into your training can improve your overall performance.

HIIT is better for your health and body

A study in the November 2018 issue of American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology revealed that 20 minutes of sprint intervals (in which only 2 minutes were spent sprinting for 30 seconds at a time, and the remaining 18 minutes were 4.5 minute recovery periods) improved mitochondrial function just as well as 30 minutes of moderate exercise with no breaks.

They basically showed that you can get the same results with 2 minutes of full effort as you could spending an entire 30 minutes jogging.

If you’re wondering how HIIT could be better for your heart than long bouts of aerobic exercise, remember that your heart is a muscle. How do you build muscle? You increase the intensity of the exercise by adding more weight or using bursts of energy, as in plyometric exercises. The heart-health equivalent is to add more intensity through speed.

In addition to improving mitochondrial function and heart health, HIIT workouts help you better regulate blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance. Better insulin resistance reduces your chance of developing diabetes.

Another health benefit is improved oxygen efficiency. And that’s not just a benefit to your muscles and lungs. Your brain also benefits from receiving more oxygen. In fact, HIIT has been shown to improve learning, memory, and mood regulation.

And sprinting increases muscle mass, something that long-distance running does not help with much. In fact, the bursts of energy used to sprint build up muscle similar to the way plyometric exercises do. So if you are looking for an exercise that improves your physical appearance by creating muscle definition, HIIT can do that, too.

If you're ready to benefit from high-intensity interval training, it's easy to add to your routine. You can use any kind of aerobic activity to do HIIT. So start with whatever exercises you already like to do.

The most basic form of sprinting is to run in short bursts. But you can also do HIIT by cycling, swimming, jumping rope, dancing, doing push-ups or squats, or doing burpees. You can pick whatever activity you like as long as it gets your heart rate up.