by Charles Weller May 28, 2014
No amount of reps will get rid of that persistent layer of fat under your muscle. You’re ripped but get winded easily on an easy jog or light bike ride. Your body fat percentage is stubbornly refusing to decrease. You’re bulking up but really want leaner muscle. You’ve plateaued.
It’s time to HIIT your workout. High Intensity Interval Training is an excellent way to burn fat, boost your metabolism, build endurance, add muscle, strengthen your heart and above all, it’s super easy to incorporate into your routine.
EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) is a good thing. It means even after you’re done working out, your body isn’t. It’s fighting hard to get back to normal, using up calories to restore the oxygen and glucose levels in your blood, regulate your body temperature and rebuild muscle. We know when the body works it demands calories. With EPOC, it gets those calories by burning fat. Think of it: While you’re relaxing, enjoying your post-exercise recovery smoothie, your body is actually burning up fat like crazy and building muscle.
The most effective way to make EPOC happen is through HIIT. HIIT uses short, all-out bursts of intense exercise with little breaks in-between, i.e. pushing your endurance to the absolute limit. Do not confuse this with Crossfit, which certainly incorporates HIIT into the daily workouts, but is built upon varying exercises and doing the most reps within the shortest period.
A HIIT workout can be done anywhere with absolutely no equipment. Endless methods exist ranging in duration and intensity, but a good baseline is to go with the Tabata method.
If you feel like you’re going to vomit or pass out, you’re doing this right. Research says one four-minute Tabata burns more fat than 60 minutes of moderate exercise on the treadmill. The key is to push yourself as hard as you can. Pretty much any kind of large muscle group exercise works with Tabata, for example you can do sprinting intervals up hills, or steep incline on the treadmill. Or, you can do pushups, any kind of plyometric exercise, jump rope, the exercise bike dialed up super high, etc. Just get your heart rate up and use a stopwatch, because twenty seconds feels like a lifetime. Most people start with one Tabata cycle and work up from there.
The best way to burn fat and lose weight is through HIIT. By adding high intensity interval training to your workout three times a week, you will see results within a month. Try the Tabata method to start; being sure you practice good form all the way through. Vary your exercises and add intervals to keep up muscle confusion.