Let's all agree that the quickest way to burn fat isn't a slow, 60-minute session on the elliptical. In fact, if you want to see results, you've got to think quick. Go shorter and lose more? Here's why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) works for weight loss.
HIIT training involves short intervals done at almost your max effort, followed by longer, slower recovery periods or rest. The secret to HIIT is in how hard you work during your intense intervals. Your goal is to work out at 90 percent of your max, which trains your body to work anaerobic mode, which helps you become more efficient at producing and using energy. The result? Your body's fat-burning potential increases and the pounds melt away.
You put in the effort, and now it's time to reap the benefits. Another way HIIT helps with weight loss is through its afterburn effect, or the calories you burn when you're sitting on your couch and congratulating yourself on completing your workout. Those short, intense bursts of exercise help build muscle and increase your resting metabolism rate, so your 20-minute workout ends up burning more calories throughout the day than if you took a slow, easy jog on the treadmill.
How to Do It Right
To max out the benefits of your workout, intensity is key. You should be working out at a seven or eight on a rate of perceived exertion scale during your intervals. When strength training, be sure to focus on form, even when you're doing reps in quick succession. Ready to start? Check out a few of our favorite HIIT workouts below.