HIIT training is not a new phenomenon; it’s a form of cardio that has been milling around for a long time. The idea behind high intensity interval training is the exerciser alternates their method during cardio between high and low intensity. This includes a quick burst of high energy, followed by a low intensity period – usually both lasting between thirty to sixty seconds at a time. This burst of activity makes the body work quicker to burn calories. Not only do HIIT cardio sessions tend to be shorter than other sessions, they’re also supposedly the best choice for continuous fat burning even once you’ve stopped the exercise.
When you put the body through a sudden burst of exercise, you actually make the body go through a deficit of oxygen. The main rule of cardio in the past had always been to ensure you’re taking in enough oxygen to meet the demand of your work out. With high intensity, the rule is different. A quick burst of movement followed by a less intense session means the body lacks the oxygen it needs. It will then spend several hours, forced to continue to burn calories to make up for this loss.
In order to see the results in this, it is not a one-time thing. HIIT definitely shows more results than cardio performed at a steady pace. As well as burning body fat, HIIT can also retain and even build muscle mass, giving the exerciser a sculpted look as well as reducing their body fat mass.
Studies show that longer sessions of slow cardio can burn a higher percent of body fat – but this is only while you’re in the session. Once your low intensity work out has stopped, there is no continuous burning happening. With HIIT, the body will continue to burn even while you’re inactive, giving you better results over a longer time.
Should HIIT Replace All Cardio?
For most people, doing only cardio sessions at high intensity intervals will prove too much and be too hard to maintain past the first few sessions. Not only does it put a lot of stress on the body as well as slow down the body’s recovery from each work out.
HIIT can, and should, be mixed in with steady, low intensity cardio as well. This will still burn calories and body fat and will mean that you’re not putting your body through as much stress and pain as you would be doing if you were solely using HIIT as your cardio method. Slow cardio is still known to be effective and should still be optimised in work outs and used to the exerciser’s advantage in between other exercise plans and schedules. The best way for a person to understand what their body is capable of is to play around with their work out and see what gives them the best result. Each body is different and will react differently to the work outs depending on the intensity.