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Is HIIT Really More Effective Than Other Workouts?

Sep 6, 2016 HIIT

 

HIIT workouts fitness

Is HIIT Really More Effective Than Other Workouts? 

 

Thirty-six minutes?  Really??  In so many cases, shorter time means that you’re getting, well, shorted.  Think about settling for the 3-minute frozen meal instead of the effort of the home-cooked version, or watching the movie trailer instead of the full-length feature.  Clearly, quicker is not always better.  Does this apply to your workouts as well?   

 

As recently as 20 years ago, it was widely believed that slow and steady cardio was the only path to physical fitness.  So, onto the treadmill for an hour of jogging you’d go, dialed into Netflix to watch a couple episodes of your favorite show.  However, with studies done in the late 1990’s by the famous Izumi Tabata, (credited with popularizing Tabata-style (HIIT) exercise) and many other fitness experts, the high-intensity interval training movement began.  The results?  No short-change here. 

 

One study completed in McMaster University in Canada showed that just a few one-minute bike sprints with rests in between was more effective in conditioning participants’ muscles than many hours’ worth of riding at a slightly slower speed.  Another study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that doing HIIT training for just two weeks can improve your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.  Another study with bikers published by the Journal of Physiology found that participants who did HIIT for 8 weeks could bike TWICE as far as they could before, while maintaining the same pace. 

 

And the fat-burning component?  Yeah, it’s there.  One 1994 study that took place at Laval University in Quebec, Canada found that HIIT workouts burn fat up to nine times faster than steady-state workouts.   It is widely believed that HIIT workouts burn it better because of the metabolic “afterburn” effect, which can keep your metabolism elevated for hours, or even a day, after an intense HIIT workout.  This is thanks to the fact that this type of exercise produces excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC).  While scientists can’t quite put their fingers on exactly why high-intensity interval training gets impressive results faster, they can’t deny that the results speak for themselves. 

 

A couple more checks in the FIT36 column: excessive training involving steady state, long-endurance activities like super-long runs can cause the breakdown of muscles and, in some cases, cause heart damage. On the other hand, HIIT training can increase your speed, power, and improve your ability to excel at other physical tasks.  AND it allows you to maintain your muscle mass, unlike other forms of cardio exercise.  Not only that, but it also stimulates your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450% during the 24 hours after your workout; which keeps you looking and feeling young, inside and out. 

(see study here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12137178?dopt=Abstract ).

 

The arguments for high-intensity interval training keep stacking up as you keep getting fitter, faster, and stronger.  We’re proof that good things really can come to those who don’t want to wait.  It’s not exactly instant gratification, but it’s as close as you can get.  Our sessions aren’t easy, but as you can see, working out in our studios is a healthy, smart choice.    

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