High-Intensity Interval Training – Interval Training for Weight Loss
Talk is all about the obesity epidemic and how it’s just getting worse. What’s really interesting about this though is that while obesity is more prevalent, there has actually been a decrease in the amount of calories consumed since the ’70′s. But how can this be?! The answer lies in the amount of energy we actually expend. Energy expenditure has decreased dramatically and so even though we are consuming less we are also burning less. Now, you may be picturing an acquaintance who constantly tries to lose weight by running miles and miles but sadly has had very little to show for it, which may lead you to question my information. So I will let you in on a little secret: energy expenditure during work depends on the total amount of work completed AND the level of efficiency the work is completed at. The less efficient you work the more you burn! And the harder you work, the less efficient you are. So let me introduce you to interval training for weight loss.
Interval Training for Fat Loss
Photo credit: Atomische • Tom Giebel
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is characterized by spurts of maximum high intensity work (about 30-60 seconds) alternated with a short recovery (about 90-120 seconds)… and possibly followed with some vomit. There is so much I could cover about HIIT but I will just be focusing on interval workouts for weight loss. So, if you want to learn more about the benefits and applications, read our other articles on interval training. With interval training fat loss is increased due to a number of reasons. First, you decrease the level of efficiency when working at the high intensity so you increase your energy expenditure (or calories burned). Next, your resting energy expenditure (REE) is increased following intense exercise and will stay increased for 24-48 hours; which means you burn more at rest than normal. Also, fat metabolism is increased following high intensity workouts greater than after low or moderate intensity.
How do I Perform Interval Workouts for Weight Loss?
It’s not easy but you will see results sooner with HIIT than with low to moderate intensity aerobic training (such as walking or jogging). And as you increase fat loss interval training will become easier! So where do you start? If you are just starting an exercise program start slow. I recommend using a track at first and not worrying so much about the clock. Begin by walking the curves and running the straights. And I mean run – you should be working at your maximum level meaning you will be huffing and puffing at the end. Repeat the intervals 6-10 times depending on your level of fitness. As you progress you can switch it up by running a straight and a curve or by using a stop watch; vary the times of the intervals to keep your energy expenditure up. Perform HIIT with at least a 5 minute warm up and cool down 3-4 days each week and ease it into your workout schedule to prevent injury. If you can’t run (or don’t like to run) you can do the same thing with biking, swimming, or even dancing (Zumba is great for this).
A Tip to Step up Your HIIT Workout
The type of recovery you do trains different energy systems. If you want to increase your endurance (aerobic system), your recovery should be a slow jog at 53% of your max heart rate. If you want to train your anaerobic system (used in sprinting), perform your recovery at a slow walk.
Now don’t give up on those new year’s weight loss goals quite yet… if you incorporate HIIT into your weekly workouts you will soon be shedding pounds.