Fat loss and lean muscle gain in one workout? In just 20-30 minutes? It sounds too good to be true but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of your strongest weapons when looking to improve body composition.
A study in the Journal of Obesity showed 12 weeks of HIIT reduced body fat and increased muscle mass. There were also substantial reductions in abdominal fat and visceral fat, and increases in lean muscle tissue and overall fitness.
But what about steady state cardio (SSC) or low intensity aerobics? Steady state cardio makes the body work in the most efficient way possible – think of a fuel efficient car, it uses as little gas as possible to get from A to B, which is what SSC does for our bodies, so we burn very little fat and carbohydrates when training this way. Going overboard on SSC can also lead to the loss of lean muscle mass (remember we want lean muscle mass as it is a metabolically active tissue that helps us burn calories), increase cortisol production (cortisol is the stress hormone that can lead to belly fat) and hinder increases in both muscle strength and size.
A lot has been written about HIIT, and there are many ways to utilize this training method. Put simply, there are three different energy systems that we can utilize when performing HIIT training.
In terms of efficiency and results the one that provides the most ‘bang for your buck’ when your goal is fat loss (whilst retaining calorie burning lean muscle tissue) is the Anaerobic “Lactic Acid Glycolytic System, which we shall explore in further detail below.
Things to consider: