Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Beauty Bazaar -

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


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!”

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