"Bike or treadmill for an hour at low intensity" is what you'll be advised 9 times out of 10 in the gym when you want to lose weight.
But what if I told you that by working half as long, you could burn a lot more calories? What if low intensity cardio was living its last hours? Let's see why you should instead do HIIT to lose weight.
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Intensity is the key to success
We can isolate 3 types of different intensity.
1. Low intensity cardio
This type of exercise, still widely used today, has the great advantage of being able to be practiced over time because of its low intensity.
The longer the session lasts, the more calories you burn, a good part of which is in the form of fat. But there are 3 major drawbacks:
- It's bored to death and not very entertaining
- Too many of these sessions will also cause you to lose muscle mass
- There is a risk of putting too much strain on the knee and ankle joints (for running)
2. Moderate intensity work
You will burn more calories in the same amount of time (due to the increased intensity) but you are mainly using the glucose reserve in the blood (also called glycogen) to provide energy.
Sure, you burn more calories, but little or no fat.
3. High intensity training
The intensity is much higher, you will burn a maximum of calories but you can not hold this type of effort over a long period. We can already see that only the first and last options are interesting for burning fat.
Moderate (or possibly sustained) intensity work will be used mainly for warm-ups or endurance work, but not in our situation, where we are looking above all to lose fat.
But what if you merge the 2 techniques at the same time ?
A session where you combine intervals of low intensity cardio with much more intense intervals?
You could then recover on the low intensity periods and continue to work on the more intense periods without having to stop prematurely.
Result: even more calories burned!
But the best is yet to come...
When cardio merges with high intensity
This type of training has a name: the HIIT.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.
It consists of both low intensity cardio coupled with much more intense intervals of activity. Nothing new so far. To understand the value of HIIT, we must first look at the body's energy systems, also called energy pathways.
There are 3 types of energy channels:
- Lactic anaerobia
- Anaerobic alactic
Remark: the 3 channels always work at the same time but there is always a predominant one depending on the type of effort.
When you are in the anaerobic pathway, your body goes into an oxygen-free mode.
On the contrary, in the aerobic pathway, our body needs a supply of oxygen. This is the basic pathway of our body, the one we use to work on endurance. To produce ATP, the body uses aerobic oxygen as well as the lipids (low intensity cardio) or the carbohydrates with the glucose reserves in the blood (on sustained intensity efforts).
In the case of efforts that are too long (such as doing too much cardio), the body then uses amino acids, i.e. it will "destroy" your muscles to provide energy to the body.
Now let's see what happens when you perform high intensity efforts...
HIIT or how to burn 9 times more fat
When you perform high intensity sessions, you use the anaerobic (mainly lactic) pathway as your energy source.
The strength of anaerobic or lack of oxygen
This type of session causes a significant energy deficit in the body which is no longer able to use oxygen as its main resource (unlike low or medium intensity cardio sessions).
Your body will then create what is called a "Oxygen debt that he will have to pay back once the effort is over.
That's why, after intense efforts, you feel breathless or have the impression of running out of air.
When you are in an oxygen debt situation, it is because your body has burned all the sugar reserves in the blood (in the form of glycogen).
It then uses lipids to provide itself with energy.
Do HIIT for post-workout results.
We also talk about after burn effect, which means that you will burn maximum calories from fat after your session.
Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Laval in Quebec have come to some amazing conclusions...
They compared two groups over 15 weeks:
- One that only did constant, moderate intensity cardio;
- A group that was only doing HIIT sessions.
I will spare you the various steps but the conclusion is as follows: A calorie spent during the high intensity session burned 9 times more fat that a calorie burned during a constant intensity session!
A training technique for all sports
The other big advantage with HIIT is that it can be done with any exercise or activity, whether it's :
- In bodybuilding with light weights or elastic bandsor simply with body weight movements;
- From fitness Pilates sessions or plyometric ;
- Outdoors with sprints, jumping rope, on a bike, in the pool, etc.
In short, only advantages... which inevitably leads to this question:
Is this the miracle solution?
Or is there more to it than meets the eye?
HIIT, the perfect solution?
The advantages of practicing this type of session over traditional sessions are multiple:
- Significantly lower workload;
- Aerobic and anaerobic performance improvement;
- Endurance Improvement;
- Sustained elevation of metabolism;
- Clear increase of the adipose melting (fatty tissues), therefore perfect when you want to make HIIT to lose weight.
Precautions to take
These sessions provide so many results and effectiveness that the trap would be to try to do too much.
The risk of doing too much
Too much HIIT can lead to overtraining and even injury or chronic fatigue in the body.
To be on the safe side, I advise you to space your sessions at least 48 hours apart.
Also be careful to integrate and plan your HIIT sessions, especially if you are following a weight training program at the same time.
Do not start cold
Another precaution to take, and not the least, is the warm-up. Before you embark on an intense session, you must warm up your muscles and joints. Knee, shin, ankle and hamstring injuries happen quickly if you don't.
Consider your current level
Since HIIT is based on high intensities, it is wise to take a reasoned approach if you are in poor physical condition. Similarly, if you have never done high intensity training, be careful. In this case, the advice of your doctor may be welcome.
In short, you will have understood, this type of session will give you amazing results if you plan your sessions well.
If you've decided to get started, here's a tip: Take a before picture and a 1 month after picture.
For more more results, you should do HIIT alternated with more traditional weight training sessionsLike the 3-month mass gain program (click on the button below).
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