Boost Weight Loss with HIIT

Saad Rana Jul 15 2014
boost weight loss

Are you spending countless hours at the gym only to get slow results? Of course, there’s no magic pill that will make you lose the weight overnight (especially not those hydroxycut type pills). However, there is a form of exercise you can do that will keep burning fat for up to 48 hours even after you exercise. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is a method of training used by athletes to boost their metabolism and melt away fat faster before they compete in a sporting event. The idea of HIIT is to perform short anaerobic bursts of intense exercise with less and shorter rest periods in between. It has been considered to be the best form of cardio training that will increase your heart rate with less time involved. The rest period is only to bring your heart rate lower before the next burst of the interval.

When you first start a fitness program, you will see results in the beginning. However, after a short time, you’ll plateau and the results won’t be as noticeable as before. This is when you need to “shock” the body. Interval training uses different intensity levels throughout the exercise session and does not allow your body to adjust to one intensity level, therefore it starts using your fat as body fuel.
HIIT can be used for various exercises, such as running, swimming, burpees, jumping jacks, running up the stairs, lunges, pushups and even certain weightlifting exercises. All of these exercises increase your heart rate, but when you perform these exercises as HIIT exercises, the heart rate increases dramatically during the higher intensity and then slows down during the rest periods, only to go back up during the next high intensity interval. Increased heart rates is a good indicator of your intensity level and over time allows your heart to become stronger and pump blood more efficiently.

Benefits of HIIT

Burn Fat Faster and Longer

During regular constant-state cardio exercises, you do burn calories during the workout. However, with HIIT, you burn calories even after you exercise while sitting on the couch or even sleeping. A study between participants partaking in a HIIT program and individuals in a regular fitness program concluded that the people who were on the HIIT regimen lost 2% body fat much quicker than those who were not on it. The study also found that those who followed the program burned almost 100 more calories 24 hours after the workout.

Spend Less Time

HIIT allows you to train as little as 15 minutes and still burn fat and calories for the same amount of time during a 30 minute steady-state cardio exercise. So instead of spending so much time on the treadmill day in and day out, just go through a HIIT program three times a week for a maximum of 25 minutes and you will get better results. Regular steady state exercises can become repetitive and boring after a while, which can demotivate you to stop your fitness program, but there is always a different routine with HIIT.

Perform HIIT Anywhere

Whether it’s a track at the park, a swimming pool, the gym or space in your living room, you can perform HIIT exercises anywhere. Sometimes you don’t even need any equipment.

Build Stamina and Increase Endurance

HIIT makes your body use to short bursts of energy after a sedative state. So if you usually lose your breath quickly such as when going up the stairs, incorporating a HIIT program in your routine is a great way to quickly build stamina and increase endurance.

Preserves Muscle Mass

When you go through a steady-state cardio session, your body uses your muscles as fuel causing the breakdown of muscle tissue and eventually you look “skinny fat.” With HIIT, there’s less chances of your muscles being used, retaining and preserving your muscle mass. By conserving your muscles, you will maintain your strength while improving your endurance.

Better Results than Steady-State Cardio

Do you know that you burn more gas when you are stuck in traffic, moving and stepping on the gas pedal every two minutes, than when you are driving constantly at a steady-state? Well the same can be said between the difference of a HIIT program and a steady-state cardio workout. You burn more energy and calories, shed fat faster and more effectively during the short HIIT workout.

Different HIIT Regimens

There are about 4 different HIIT regimens that have been developed over the years. They are usually named after the person who first started the regimen. They are the Peter Coe regimen, Tabata regimen, Gibala regimen and Timmons regimen.

The Peter Coe regimen was started by Peter Coe, an athletics coach, in 1970. It involves repeated 200 meter runs with only 30 seconds of rest between each run.
The Tabata regimen is more commonly used and rather more effective. It was first devised by Professor Izumi Tabata in 1996. It uses 20 seconds of ultra-fast interval followed by 10 seconds of low interval, repeated continuously for 4 minutes for a total of 3 cycles.
The Gibala regimen was started by Professor Martin Gibala in 2009 in which he had students do 3 minutes of light warm up, then 60 seconds of high intensity exercise, then 75 seconds of rest.
The Timmons regimen is more recent, when Professor Jamie Timmons worked on an athlete in 2012 and had him perform three sets of two minutes of light exercises then three 20 second bursts of high intensity training for a total of 3 minutes for one set.
All of these regimens have produced results in their respective studies. However, the Tabata regimen has produced better results, yielding more fat loss for the shorter time involved.
For a beginner’s guide to HIIT training, follow Jim Stoppani’s program here


Regular steady state exercises can become repetitive and boring after a while, which can demotivate you to stop your fitness program, but there is always a different routine with HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT for short, is one of the most effective programs to speed up your metabolism, shed fat faster and burn calories even after your workout. And the best part is, you can do a HIIT program for less time (as little as 15 minutes) as well as fewer days and you’ll get the same result if you were to do steady-state exercises for one hour every day. Proper nutrition is key when following a HIIT program. As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new fitness program, especially if you have any heart conditions or arthritis.

Saad Rana

Saad Rana:

As a current dental student at Ziauddin University, Saad takes an interest in health, fitness and nutrition. He writes articles based on research through on-line publications as well as consulting various doctors and nutrition and fitness experts. When he's not writing for Health TV, you can find him studying, exercising or watching some of his favourite TV shows.