High intensity interval training saves time but burns more fat than traditional exercise, says yet more research (The Journal of Physiology, 2010).
High intensity interval training is safe and ideal for busy people struggling to burn stubborn fat. I’m a certified personal trainer.
This exciting research comes from Canada’s McMaster University, and demonstrates that the work intervals do not have to be “all out” in order to burn off fat and produce a training effect.
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.”
High intensity interval training means alternating short bursts of high energy effort with brief recovery periods (casual or easy pace).
A HIIT session of 30 minutes will burn more fat and generate more of a training effect, than will a standard steady-state session of the same duration — even though during the high intensity interval training, much less time is spent actually exerting yourself. Much, much less time!
The McMaster study employed a standard stationary bike, but the effort level was about 50 percent of what a person would generate at an all-out, maximal pace.
However, this 50 percent still qualified as above the comfort zone for most people: 95 percent maximal heart rate.
So why not just do all-out intervals? Because these sub-all-out intervals are more ideal for certain populations, such as older people, the obese or people recovering from injuries.
Exercise creates a myriad of changes in the body, not just the obvious visible changes of burned off fat and tighter muscles.
Exercise also substantially cuts the risk of many diseases. However, all these benefits are still possible with high intensity interval training, even though the protocol involves far less time spent expending effort.
Gibala’s study shows that with standard steady-state (long duration) aerobic exercise, you’d have to complete more than 10 hours (cycling) at the moderate level, over a 14 day period.
So now that you know this, you can no longer use the excuse of having no time to exercise for avoiding exercise.
Get on a stationary bike and do 10 challenging intervals of one minute each, with one minute of casual pedaling in between, three times a week, and watch the fat burn off. This includes stubborn fat in your belly.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building and fitness.