1,000 HOW TO BURN CALORIES
If you’ve been anywhere near a gym in the past few years, you’re probably familiar with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Alternating short bursts of intense effort with low- to moderateintensity recovery periods has been—and continues to be— extremely popular in the fitness world. Besides delivering more bang for your buck (in one study, people doing HIIT nearly doubled the number of calories they would have burned by jogging), some studies show HIIT may be particularly effective at breaking down fat, especially the fat padding the abdominal area. Years of research show a wealth of health benefits as well, including enhanced protection against heart disease.
But maybe, the best benefit is how this type of training continues to burn major calories after your sweat session is finished. According to Len Kravitz, a researcher and programme coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, HIIT adds up to 15 percent more calories to the total torched—even if you’re just sitting on the couch channel-surfing.
This after-burn effect is so appealing that it’s one of the main selling points of interval-based group classes. The 60-minute workout promises to keep your heart rate in the “orange zone” for 12 to 20 minutes over the course of the hour. That zone translates to 84 to 95 percent of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart can beat in a minute without overexerting itself. Because working out this intensely creates a high demand for oxygen, the body uses more energy as it restores its oxygen level—hence the after-burn, helping you burn up to 1,000 calories, according to Orangetheory Fitness.
So, how else do you burn more calories during and after a workout? Another key is to keep your respiratory rate at a heightened level for sustained periods of time. “You really have to challenge your breathing mechanism to get the caloric burn higher,” says Matthew Kohn, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer with TroupeFit in New York. “The average person should be at a 6 to an 8, with 1 being you just woke up and are still in bed, and 10 being I’m putting you on a stretcher and taking you to the hospital.”
You don’t have to be into group fitness classes to reap the rewards of HIIT; add sprints to your cardio workout, or when possible, challenge yourself on hills. The goal with HIIT is to reach a high level of intensity for as long as possible, says Kohn. Then, with every workout, try to beat that time. “The more you push, the stronger the after-burn,” says exercise physiologist Ellen Latham, founder of Orangetheory Fitness.
If the idea of pushing yourself super hard, even for short spurts, sounds too, well, hard, consider this: In one study, people reported greater enjoyment with HIIT workouts than with continuously vigorous or moderate-intensity ones. And if you like your workout, you’re more likely to stick with it. That said, HIIT may increase the chances of injury and muscle soreness, so don’t go all out if you don’t have a base level of fitness. Even so, know that more HIIT isn’t always better. As the name suggests, high-intensity training is intense, so aim to do it two or three times a week, and allow for plenty of recovery time between workouts. HIIT makes the “no pain, no gain” mantra so doable
THE EXPERTS WEIGH IN
LIAM HARKNESS, SPORTS THERAPIST AT BE URBAN WELLNESS “HIIT, is by far, the best way to tone up and burn body fat. If you’re exercising post-injury, programmes should be tailor-made to your rehabilitation and safety. The most effective formula: heavy lifting, high intensity cardio training, then back to heavy lifting. Remember, nothing great happens in the comfort zone!”