Lose Weight. Burn Fat. Part 5 - High Intensity Interval Training

Ok, this is where the real rubber meets the road. This is where the real work is done. High Intensity Interval Training coupled with resistance training, as discussed in Part 4, will yield the fastest fat loss results.

Think about High Intensity Interval Training as being the exact opposite of marathon training. Instead of long slow runs, you’re performing short, fast sets of high intensity work, followed by short periods of rest.


The reason you see a such a huge difference in the body composition of marathoners versus sprinters is due to the differences in training styles. Resistance training and interval training creates shorter, fast twitch, more dense muscle tissue. Running long distances creates longer, slow twitch, less dense muscle tissue. 

The Truth:

study, from scientists at Canada’s McMaster University, adds to the growing
evidence for the benefits of short term high-intensity interval training (HIT)
as a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long
term exercise. Astonishingly, it is possible to get more by doing less! “We
have shown that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be
effective,” says Professor Martin Gibala. “Doing 10 one-minute
sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between,
three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of
conventional long-term biking less strenuously.”  – ScienceDaily.com

The Benefits:

  • HIIT trains and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic
    energy systems. You train your anaerobic system with brief, all-out
    efforts, like when you have to push to make it up a hill, sprint the
    last few hundred yards of a distance race, or run and hide from your
    spouse after saying the wrong thing.
  • HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise
    session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes
    your body to recover from each exercise session.
  • HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat
    as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic
    endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.
  • HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss,
    in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer
  • To get the benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself past the upper
    end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic
    energy system during the recovery intervals.
    • Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert
Here are a couple of examples of High Intensity Interval Training routines. This routine is a little longer than a sprint but short enough where maximal effort should be able to be maintained for the duration of the work period.

Note: A dynamic warm up should be performed prior to performing this routine as well as a cool down and static stretching following the routine.

Rest period is 3 times your work period:
30 seconds of sprints followed by 90 seconds of rest. Repeat this 6 times.

Rest period is 2 times longer than work period:
30 seconds of sprints followed by 60 seconds of rest. Repeat this 8-10 times

Rest period is same as work period:
30 seconds of sprints followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat 10-12 times

Another type of HIIT is called Tabata:
Tabata Protocol:

Again, perform a dynamic warm up prior to performing this routine:
20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest. Perform 8 rounds of this. Rest for 3 minutes after 8 rounds and then perform 2 more sets.

I recommend performing HIIT on alternating days from your resistance training days so that you will be able to perform at maximal effort. If you need to perform both your resistance training routine and a HIIT routine in the same day then perform your resistance training first and the HIIT routine after.

If you are just starting out, perform one HIIT session a week, as you progress you can add a day to your week and continue to add a HIIT session up to 3 or 4 sessions a week. I typically do not recommend more than 3 HIIT sessions a week unless you are highly conditioned and it’s for a limited length of time.

If you need more information about HIIT please send me your questions…I’d love to answer them!

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High Intensity Interval Training should not be performed by anyone with any health risks, especially cardiovascular problems. Please consult a physician prior to starting any fitness routine.


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