HIIT For Weight Loss-Does It Work?

If you’re serious about losing weight and changing your body for the long haul — using HIIT for weight loss is the answer. There are plenty of credible studies now to prove High Intensity Interval Training is one of the best forms of exercise to shed pounds. And shed them quickly.

In fact, health trainers, coaches, and nutritionist everywhere now believe HIIT is THE key to weight loss.

I can tell you that the process of losing weight is hardly ever simple or straightforward. For instance, you could jog for an hour to burn 4 to 5 hundred calories, stop at Wendy’s for a Frostie on the way home and put 400 calories right back in the mix.

The simple fact is that you can take days, weeks, or months to see a couple of pounds of weight loss, and pump it back on with a few high-calorie meals. So, losing weight can be a real challenge.

However, this high energy, all-out exertion form of exercise for less than 1/2 hour 3 times a week has the potential to change your body in ways you never imagined.

Here’s a look at a few of the real benefits associated with HIIT when it comes to weight loss.

Benefits of HIIT for Weight Loss

This form of exercise is good for more than people using it for fast weight loss. It will raise your endurance levels out the roof and keep you more focused than ever before, just to name a couple.

Burns Calories Quickly

When it comes to losing weight, nothing burns off calories as quickly as HIIT exercises. A little farther down the page, you will see why the calories are burned so efficiently with this way to exercise.

For now, it’s important to know that studies comparing 30 minutes of HIIT exercises with 60 minutes of traditional training proves a vast difference in calorie burn.

The people who do HIIT workouts for only 30 minutes burn between 25 and 30% more calories than the people who did traditional exercises for an hour.

So, as it turns out, you can burn off more calories in less than half the time. And the time factor is important to many people who don’t know how to make time for exercise.

HIIT Saves Time

To start with, it’s rarely recommended to do these high intensity exercises for more than 30 minutes, and usually not more than 20 minutes.

So, you can see the workout times are much shorter than typical workouts have always been.

If you want to cut your exercising time in half — HIIT is the ideal technique for you.

Because the typical workout is over in 20 minutes, it’s ideal for anyone who needs to squeeze in a quick workout before or after work.

Spend 5 minutes warming up cold muscles, and workout for 20 minutes. You’ve just finished in less than 1/2 hour and burnt more calories than if you’d done an hour of steady-state exercise on a good cardio machine.

But the truth is that the calorie burn to lose weight gets even better.

The Calorie Afterburn

This is where HIIT really gets interesting for weight loss.

Personal trainers, nutritionists, and sports scientist all agree that one of the main reasons HIIT works so great for dieting and fat loss is this afterburn effect.

Believe it or not, after 20 minutes of HIIT, you’re body is going to continue burning off calories at a high rate for as long as 24 more hours.

One of the reasons this exercise technique is sweeping the gyms and the weight loss industry is because it increases your resting metabolic rate for hours after you’ve trained.

This heighten metabolism means that you will burn far more calories than with any other form of exercise — and this is even while you’re resting in front of the tube.

Because only a very short workout will increase your metabolism for many hours afterward, weight loss is much more dramatic with HIIT.

HIIT Exercises

You can use this:

10 Minute Workout Infographic

for your HIIT exercise.

HIIT For Weight Loss Exercise Infographic

You can easily incorporate high intensity interval training into any exercise routine you do.

Read this if you’re not sure about what HIIT exercises are all about.

This high intensity training technique is a very popular form of physical fitness and is being used by health and fitness enthusiast in gyms, at home, with every type of exercise.

HIIT is much quicker than typical endurance exercises, but it’s also much more effective especially when it comes to losing weight. 

If you really get into it and give it your absolute all, there’s no doubt that you will burn far more calories than you would with an hour of steady state cardio.

The Basics of HIIT

The basics of HIIT in traditional cardio is that you will alternate between slow cardio and very fast, high paced and high intensity cardio.

For instance, you could walk for 30 seconds at your normal walking pace, and then sprint as fast as possible for 30 seconds.

You would repeat this process over and over for up to 20 minutes, and probably much less for beginners.

You can even try all-out sprinting for 30 seconds, and then stand still to catch your breath for 30 seconds.

Like I said earlier, HIIT can be incorporated into any type of exercise, including swimming and cycling.

High Intensity Swimming

Believe it or not, if you’re a swimmer, you can easily adapt a HIIT workout into swimming.

Most people think of swimming as an endurance based form of cardio exercise, but you can make it very effective high intensity training.

The fact is that swimming is a great exercise because it is resistance-based exercise and tones your body well.

Make swimming a HIIT workout just the same as sprinting or any other cardio exercise.

Just swim at a low-intensity pace for about 30 seconds, and turn the effort and speed all the way up for the next 30 seconds.

Repeat the intervals for up to 20 minutes, or as long as you can hold out.

You will very quickly see that when you are exerting maximum intensity for the high intensity intervals a few minutes is all you will want.

Cycling Indoors or Outdoors

Cycling is a hugely beneficial and underrated form of cardiovascular exercise.

Cycling For HIIT To Lose Weight

Cycling outdoors or on indoor exercise bikes burns calories helps increase endurance, tones muscles (especially legs), and is great for weight loss.

And incorporating HIIT into cycling is as simple as any other exercise you’re doing to lose weight.

Just spend a few minutes, or miles, making sure your muscles are warmed up as you cycle at a constant speed.

Now pick up the speed until you are at full exertion for about 30 seconds. 30 seconds may not sound like much, but if you’re all out — it’s plenty.

After going all out for 30 seconds, slow down for 30 seconds, catch your breath, and continue the intervals for up to 20 minutes.

Apps For HIIT Training

Yep! If you’re reading this — you too are participating in the digital age!

We are even finding out that we can carry that online connectivity with smartphones and tablets right along with us as we workout and exercise.

And those online apps bring a lot of advantages, especially in doing HIIT exercises, whether you’re into losing weight or not?

These two apps will definitely help you with your intervals which will help you with your weight loss goals:

Sworkit

Sworkit App for HIIT for losing weight

There’s plenty of people who think the Sworkit app is the ultimate HIIT resource.

There are over 25 million people using this app as we speak, and that number is increasing each week.

Sworkit isn’t the only HIIT app available, but I find so many of them to be less than I need.

On the other hand, Sworkit is quite well designed and formatted right.

Not only does it look good, but it’s also functional.

You can create your own workout plans, or simply choose one of the pre-programmed fitness and workout plans. And you’ll find an enormous database of HIIT exercises along with videos to choose from.

There’s a one month free trial and then it’s about $10 a month for 3 months, or $80 a year. You can even get a lifetime membership for about $300.

Interval Timer

Interval Timer is a great little app to help you get the most out your HIIT workouts.

It’s not much more than a glorified timer, but it really works well to keep your workouts clean and timed right. 

Check it out here, and it’s free. 

You already know that HIIT workouts are about alternating between intervals of low intensity and very high intensity burst of exercise. 

The Interval Timer App keeps you well aware of where you are in the interval. How much time you’ve been at full capacity, and how long you’ve rested. 

The app is available for Android and IOS. Simple but very powerful for your workouts. 

HIIT Power Foods for Weight Loss

Let there be no question, HIIT exercises take a lot of energy to get the most out of them.

If your diet consists of unhealthy foods, you really won’t have the energy stores for this intense interval training. 

On the other hand, if you will fuel yourself with fresh and nutrient-filled foods, you will not only lose weight, but you will have the energy to improve your health and fitness.  

You’ll find that eating the right foods – not only boost your wellness in general, but you will see big improvements when it comes to your athletic performances. 

If you are using HIIT workouts for sprint training or any other form of exercise — there are particular foods that will really help you.

Not only will these foods help your performance, but they will also aid you with your weight loss goals: 

Salmon

Salmon is always considered one of the superfoods. It’s an oily fish packed with nutrients, omega 3 fatty acids, minerals, and amino acids you need for the best you. 

This is a food rich in the protein you need to promote healthy muscle growth along with helping repair the muscles you tear down during exercise. 

Salmon is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties that will cut down on the inflammation and fatigued muscles after a workout.  

The more fit and healthy you are in general, the less soreness you’ll encounter both during and after your training.

And this exercise will have you fit, toned, losing weight, and feeling great in no time. 

Salmon is a great food to eat on a diet and is beneficial to weight loss. It’s rich in healthy fats that metabolize fast and provide you with a quick energy boost perfect for HIIT workouts.

Bananas 

Most athletes I know eat bananas on a regular basis. They are a food that seems to be made for any regular physical activity, losing weight, and/or using HIIT training. 

This superfood is a high carb food (healthy carbs!) that will give you sustained energy.

That makes bananas the perfect pre-workout food or snack that’s high in fiber and nutrition — and low in calories.

They are full of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and potassium that come in handy for all exercise, and especially HIIT. 

Potassium, in particular, is a mineral that helps you prevent muscle cramps by countering and cushioning lactic acid that wants to build up from exercise.

The other minerals in bananas aid in replacing the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.

The minerals found in bananas also help to replace electrolytes lost in sweat when you train.

*My banana hint: When my bananas start to over ripen or get spots on the peel, I peel them and freeze them. Ripe frozen bananas have a much sweeter taste than picking one up off the counter.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is the ultimate when it comes to food to eat prior to your HIIT Workout.   Peanut butter will give you an energy boost and is a great diet food that can actually help you lose weight.  

Wait -wait! 

Not the typical peanut butter you get at the grocery store. Most popular brands are full of additional oils, added salt, sugar, sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives, and other unhealthy “stuff”.

Don’t eat that! Instead, eat all-natural peanut butter. Make sure it’s 100% peanuts with nothing added to it.

Peanut butter is a protein food that helps prevent muscle damage, repair muscles, and promote muscle growth.

And not only do you need muscle mass for intense training — the more muscle mass you can accumulate while losing weight means more calories burned. 

Peanut butter is packed with healthy fats and healthy calories. It provides plenty of energy for your workout, and that same energy is driving your metabolism that burns calories. 

Will I lose Weight With HIIT?

You bet!

Is HIIT magic for losing weight?

Obviously not!

If you planted an apple seed today, would you see a full-grown tree tomorrow?

Your body follows its own pace too.

Pacing Yourself and Weight Loss

If you only need to lose 2 or 3 pounds to make yourself happy with your body, it’s usually not that difficult to do so?

However, if you have more weight than that to lose, understanding the concept of pacing yourself can really give you a leg up on the process.

And you must get it in your mind that both losing excess pounds (body fat) and getting the most from HIIT exercises is a process that takes time. 

Getting your body and your mind to cooperate can be mentally tough and seem like it’s all uphill for a while.

You need to understand that:

Most of us simply can’t exercise enough to overcome the terrible eating habits and food addictions we struggle with daily.

So, when it comes to pacing yourself and losing weight with HIIT, it is a must that you start changing your diet and set your mind on long term results.

Neither is going to happen overnight, and planning on success and keeping a record of your journey keeps you paced, dedicated, and on track to succeed.

Pacing yourself happens when you actually write realistic goals for your weight loss.

Without goals and a journal, it’s so easy to quit — that dieting becomes merely a hit and miss the idea that you continue for many years or the rest of your life.

Why Do So Many People Quit?

Here’s what you must set your mind to BEFORE  you start your diet:

It will take time for you to lose the weight that plagues you!

You didn’t gain it overnight, and HIIT or not, you aren’t likely to lose it overnight.

Understanding that it’s going to take longer than you would like will prevent you from feeling discouraged when you think nothing is happening.

In fact, you may not see any appreciable difference when you weigh for the first 30 days.

HIIT or any other form of exercise has no choice but to start changing your body and converting some of that excess fat to muscle. 

But here’s’ something you must remember about your weight in the first weeks:

Muscle weighs more than fat.

So even though you lose fat in the beginning —  it’s being replaced with muscle that weighs more.

So forget seeing pounds disappear on the scale and getting that beach body in the first month.

Even though your body wants to follow its own pace, doing HIIT is going to seriously move everything up a notch.

Stay the course with your exercise, diet changes, and recording your progress in a journal.

You will see a very visible and undeniable difference in 60 days. Your family and friends will notice it too. 

By day 90, you will look and feel like a totally different person.

You have paid the price and made the journey.

This is where most people make a mistake – they quit too soon.

They overestimate their abilities.

They believe if they starve themselves or work out like a maniac, they’ll lose weight FAST! That’s not where you want to go!

Instead, practice HIIT 3 times a week, and diet for the long haul.

Avoiding Plateaus

Let’s face it, learning, practicing, and getting your mind and body in tune with HIIT protocols 3 times a week along with diet changes are rather harsh measures you’ve undertaken.

HIIT itself will seriously accelerate your calorie burn and metabolism. However,  your body is going to rebel at some point and hold on to fat with everything it’s got.

That’s normal! It goes into a self-preservation mode because it doesn’t like change any more than you do.

You must be aware that you will lose some weight and then hit a plateau.

All the torture and effort in the gym may raise your expectations and when you see that the weight on the scale is not dropping as much as you expect, you lose hope.

Right here is where it’s easy to jump ship and decide to give up and quit.

You throw in the towel, stop your exercise and slip back into the same eating habits that got you here?

This is the biggest mistake you can make because the plateaus are an indication that you are really just getting started.

Continue to follow a sensible diet that puts you in a caloric deficit of about 500 calories a day. (A calorie deficit means that you are burning 500 more calories every day than you are consuming.)

Keep up the HIIT exercise 3 times a week and look for new ways to make them even more challenging. 

You’ll start noticing the excess fat on your body melting off at a gradual and consistent rate.

With diet changes and HIIT exercises — the changes in your body and weight over 2 to 3 months will be tremendous.

If you’re obese, it may even take 4 to 7 months… but rest assured that results will come if you stay on track and give it time.

Do I Need Resistance Training Too

I hope I’ve already impressed upon you the importance of changing your diet to lose weight.

I also hope I’ve made an impression about the untold value of HIIT training for anyone able to exert themselves fully for 20 -30 second intervals.

If you find yourself giving sober consideration to employing HIIT into your diet plans to lose body fat, there’s one more thing to consider:

Resistance Training.

Make it part of your regular exercise regime. 

Here’s why:

1) Resistance training is going to build muscle. 

It’s actually muscles that require the energy you use, and that energy is what uses and burns up calories.

2) As you build muscle, your body will tone, and you will have more energy for HIIT exercises.

Cardio and resistance training aren’t actually fully exclusive of one another, either. 

You can do 30 minutes of resistance training, followed by 15- 20 minutes of HIIT cardio.

If you do the HIIT first however, there will be no energy to take advantage of resistance exercises.

Learn to do your resistance in a HIIT nature and kill 2 birds with one stone.

Conclusion

Forget everything you think you know about pills, supplements, and fad diets promising to make weight loss fast and painless.

That’s all a sham, and no matter what is never a long term solution to weight problems.

And neither is HIIT for weight loss a magic spell or pill.

However, HIIT is well proven to be a great way to turn on the most fat burning possible for your time and effort.

And you can use this form of exercise with any activity you choose, including walking at the local track.

The fact is that High Intensity Interval Training will burn calories, tone your body, get rid of excess fat, and could change your health and life.

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