If you are looking for the most effective exercise strategy for burning fat and improving your cardiovascular conditioning, research shows that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise (aka High Intensity Interval Training) … and most of my classes incorporate this type of training BECAUSE IT WORKS!
It beats conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, and it provides health benefits that traditional cardio doesn’t. The biggest benefit is the boost in human growth hormone (HGH) that is associated with HIIT.
Many studies have shown the benefits of this kind of training:
- Research published in the Journal of Obesity shows that HIIT can increase muscle mass as well as reduce body fat — including the more dangerous visceral belly fat that surrounds our organs. Research from the University of New South Wales in Australia revealed that weight, abdominal and trunk fat, and total fat mass all dropped in men who engaged in HIIT training for 12 weeks. They also experienced a 17 percent drop in visceral fat.
- HIIT has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol after 8 weeks of training. HIIT combined with a moderate decrease in body fat (or body weight) has been shown to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides levels 2.
- Other research published in the journal Cell Metabolism3 showed that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise is brief, it produces an immediate measurable change in their DNA.
- Specifically, the study demonstrated that when you exercise your body almost immediately experiences genetic activity that increases the production of fat burning enzymes.
- Yet another study found that unfit but otherwise healthy middle-aged adults were able to improve their insulin sensitivity after just two weeks of interval training (three sessions per week).4 Another study also found that interval training positively impacted insulin sensitivity with just one training session! 5
- Norwegian researchers took people with metabolic syndrome — a disorder that raises the risk for diabetes and heart disease — and assigned them to high intensity workouts. After 16 weeks, 46 percent of those who trained with intensity no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.
- Because HIIT training tremendously increases the activity of mitochondria — the intracellular energy factories of the body — participants enjoy continuous high-energy levels