The fat burning zone – the idea that if you keep your work out at 55% to 65% of your maximum heart rate, you will magically burn more fat than at higher levels of exercise intensity. So why bother pushing yourself when you will burn more fat exercising at a slower pace?
Because the fat burning zone is a myth.
In the post, we’ll discuss the top 5 reasons why should give up that 10 km run and start doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT).
- HIIT takes less time
We are so time poor these days. Imagine what you could fit into your day if, instead of that hour run, you only worked out for 20 mins. HIIT requires less time to complete an effective work out, leaving you with more time in the day to get on with other things.
- HIIT burns more calories
HIIT is harder than low intensity cardio. This means our bodies have to work more during the workout. Whilst a HIIT training session may only last a third of the time of a low intensity workout, the higher oxygen use during the session causes the body to use fat for energy once it has finished. As a result, our body burns more overall calories throughout the day.
- HIIT builds more muscle
Low intensity cardio is catabolic, meaning that it uses your muscle stores for energy. HIIT, on the other hand, uses fast oxidative and fast glycolytic muscle fibres. This means that HIIT is more of an anaerobic workout that builds muscle rather than eats muscle.
- HIIT makes us more efficient at burning fat
The more muscle someone has, the greater their ability to burn fat. As we discuss in point 4, HIIT helps to build muscle. But HIIT also makes us more efficient at burning fat by creating a higher oxygen deficit than low intensity cardio. A higher oxygen deficit increases the body’s maximum oxygen capacity meaning that the body is more efficient at transporting oxygen. And since fat requires oxygen to be oxidised, the more oxygen transported, the more fat burnt. But HIIT’s ability to increase fat burning doesn’t stop there. HIIT causes a hormonal response in our body that increases our insulin sensitivity and produces greater amounts of growth hormone, making the body more effective at burning fat.
- HIIT is more fun!
Let’s admit it, long runs are boring…especially if they are on a treadmill. HIIT makes workouts more interesting. At most, an interval will be 1 minute long and you’ll be switching between activities…so you will never get bored.
Whilst we really like HIIT, make sure you tailor your workout to your level of fitness. We don’t want you going full blast after not having done any exercise for a long time and doing your fooffa.