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Benefits of HIIT for Weight Loss

Losing weight is never easy, but for some individuals, it’s either a personal goal or a health-based necessity. Whether your objective is to increase lean muscle mass or to drop a certain number of pounds overall, high-intensity interval training is one of the best methods for burning calories and losing fat.

In this article, we’ll briefly review what high-intensity interval training (HIIT) consists of, how it can benefit your weight loss goals, and how you can easily get started with a workout routine at your local UFC Gym.

For those in the Mamaroneck, New York, area looking to lose weight and optimize health with HIIT before the start of swimsuit season, please reach out to our UFC Gym today!

HIIT: What It Is

Short for high-intensity interval training, HIIT is a workout technique that incorporates maximum-effort bursts of exercise balanced by active rest periods. The high intensity of the workout burns more calories and shreds fat faster than low-intensity steady-state cardio. Essentially, the benefits of HIIT incorporate the best parts of weight lifting, bodyweight exercise, and cardiovascular endurance.

HIIT: Why It Works

The primary reason that HIIT is so effective for weight loss is due to a phenomenon referred to as the “afterburn effect”. More technically, exercise science specialists or gym rats may call it,“excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” or EPOC.

In simple terms, the afterburn effect means that your body will continue to consume extra oxygen after your workout has ended, when the fatigued muscles undergo a repair and recovery process. When you exercise, your muscles produce a chemical called lactic acid, creating the familiar burning sensation of intense physical exertion.

In addition to making you feel fatigued and sore, the lactic acid in your hard-working muscles causes oxygen depletion in the fibers. In order to repair the muscles, build them up stronger, and remove soreness, your body works like a machine during the recovery process.

This afterburn effect, or EPOC, elevates your calorie burn for 16-72 hours after your workout has ended, contributing to greater success in weight loss — even when you’re not hitting the gym.

If you want to workout smarter, not necessarily harder, then a HIIT program is your best bet.

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The HIIT Workout: What It Looks Like

One of the best things about high-intensity interval training is that you can design your workout to target virtually any goal, whether it’s general weight loss, improved endurance, fat reduction, or strength-building.

In order to maximize EPOC and calorie burn, most HIIT workouts will incorporate a variety of compound movements (i.e. those that require multiple muscle groups). These typically include squats, overhead presses, bench presses, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, and planks. Less oxygen-hungry but still important for overall fitness, you may also see “accessory” movements like bicep curls, sit-ups, calf raises, and deltoid flys.

Regardless of the exact cocktail of lifts and movements, you’ll perform every HIIT workout in a pretty standard way based on a near-universal premise. For a specified amount of time, you’ll perform an exercise with enough intensity to raise your heart rate to about 80% of its maximum pace. Following this period of high exertion, you’ll rest for another specified duration, typically equal to or slightly shorter than the amount of time you spent “working.”

This process repeats itself however many times or sets the workout calls for. In most cases, you can get an excellent HIIT workout accomplished in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t feel fatigued by then and feel compelled to workout longer than that, you’re not working hard enough! Up the intensity, shorten the rest periods, and breathe, breathe, breathe.

Final Motivation

There’s no shortage of benefits to high-intensity interval training, especially if weight loss is one of your primary goals. At UFC Gym Mamaroneck in New York, we offer a variety of kickboxing and HIIT-incorporating classes that are sure to get your heart pumping and sweat beading. For more information on how our HIIT program can supplement your weight loss objectives, please contact us today or explore our class schedule online.