HIIT Training: Is it the best way to burn fat?

Hiit Training Afterburn chart

Hiit Training Afterburn effect

HIIT Training: Is it the best way to burn fat?

So I been getting a lot of emails and Facebook messages from people saying that they have heard from various sources that HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training) is the best way to burn fat.  It is, they’re not lying. It is the best way to lose fat, but its also the number one way to burn up all of your muscle gains too.

A number of Beachbody programs utilize HIIT training, including Insanity and TurboFire.  If your not familiar with HIIT training, it is cardio performed at such an intense level that your body will spend the rest of the day using energy to bounce back and heal from the butt-kicking you gave it. When you are doing HIIT Training you will be working out as hard as you can for about a minute or so and then get a very short 15-30 seconds break before going back to working hard again, this process is usually repeated anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour.  This is also referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume more oxygen recovering from the exercise than you would have if you’d just done a steady-state workout. This means that you will be burning up to nine times more fat while sitting on the couch later that night than you would have if you’d spent an hour on the treadmill at a moderate pace.

You will either love HIIT training or you will hate it, personally I go through a love/hate relationship with it. This type of training is definitely not for everybody though. You need to be the kind of person that can push yourself past your breaking point and really dig deep and be prepared to do that on a daily basis.  HITT training is very intense, it can very easily burn you out and detour you from working out and completing your exercise program. When your doing HIIT training your body is grabbing everything it can including glycogen, fat, and muscle gains.  The reason I go through this love/hate relationship is because I’m human and honestly who wants to get up in the morning or after work or whenever you go to the gym and do cardio and be like “Man I gotta do HIIT training” it’s going to kick my butt”. Your going to lose a lot of focus and its going to burn you out, especially if all your cardio sessions are like that.  I’m not saying don’t do it at all, I’m saying if your anything like me, doing HIIT training everyday will not work out well. I personally like to mix things up and throw in some HIIT training into my regular workout routine maybe once or twice a week but not everyday.

So Yes, HIIT is the best way to lose fat, but its also the best way to burn yourself out and burn off muscle gains.  In my opinion, if your trying to maintain your muscle or build muscle and burn fat at the same time the best cardio to do is a good moderate pace cardio. What I mean is this, get on the treadmill and walk at a steady pace for about 15 minutes to an hour at a good steady pace. If I was next to somebody on a treadmill I should be able to carry on a conversation with them but still have a good sweat going on by about 10 minutes in. That’s the best way to burn fat and not muscle.

Don’t get me wrong, this post is not meant to bash programs like Insanity and Turbofire, not at all. I think they are both great programs and I think that HIIT training is wonderful.  Just remember that those programs are “Cardio Conditioning” programs, not muscle building or weight loss programs. They will make your heart stronger though! All I’m saying is that I believe it should not be the only program in your workout regimen. HIIT training is a great addition to a workout but I definitely believe you should have some variety in your workout to keep your body guessing.

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