High intensity interval training (HIIT) has quickly become one of the most popular workouts worldwide. From weekend warriors to elite athletes, everyone is praising its benefits. This training method alternates periods of intense and low efforts or rest. For instance, you can sprint for 30 seconds, walk for another 30 seconds, and repeat. A typical session lasts 10 to 20 minutes.
Compared to traditional cardio, HIIT yields a higher energy expenditure due to the so-called afterburn effect. On top of that, it doesn’t trigger catabolism or raises cortisol levels. Steady state cardio burns both fat and muscle, putting stress on your body.
What Makes HIIT So Effective?
This workout method can boost your health on every level. It promotes fat loss, maintains lean muscle, and improves cardiovascular function. HIIT also has a positive impact on testosterone and growth hormone levels, which helps enhance sports performance.
In a study, subjects who did HIIT for 15 weeks lost 12 percent more visceral fat and nine times more body fat compared to those following a steady-state cardio plan for 20 weeks. This training method increases your VO2 max, which leads to faster weight loss and improved body composition. Moreover, it elevates your metabolism for up to 36 hours after exercise.
Research also shows that HIIT improves insulin sensitivity and lowers diabetes risk. Due to its ability to raise growth hormone levels, it causes greater fat loss than steady state cardio. Additionally, this training method lowers the hunger hormone ghrelin levels, which helps suppress appetite.
Does HIIT Build Muscle?
High intensity interval training has no direct impact on muscle growth. However, it stimulates your body’s natural testosterone and HGH production, which in turn, helps with muscle building. The higher your T levels, the faster you’ll build muscle and torch fat.
The key to an effective HIIT session is to push yourself as hard as you can during the high-intensity phase. This will lead to a greater increase in testosterone and growth hormone levels. You’ll also burn more calories and boost your muscular endurance. Aim for two or three HIIT workouts per week to reap the benefits. For best results, eat a high-protein diet and mix HIIT with strength training.