As obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other markers of an unhealthy population have increased; there
has been expanded research into exercise and fat loss. Dr. Kevin Schoepp, Director of the Center for Academic
Excellence at Jumeirah University further elaborates.
MYTH VERSUS REALITY
We’ve long known that exercise is one of the most important things people can do to get healthy and lose weight- the bottom line is that exercise makes it easier to lose weight because we are burning more calories than if we weren’t
exercising. It is one way to tip the scales in the ‘calories in- calories out’ balancing act in which we engage. However, more and more the message we’re hearing from researchers and health professionals is that the way we’ve been doing it might not be the most effective way to burn fat.
HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
For many years, the advice from the fitness community to burn fat and lose weight was to do steady state cardio (SSC) at a moderate intensity. To this day, the official guidance from the US Surgeon General is that adults should
engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. While this type of exercise certainly helps and shouldn’t be discouraged, researchers have been finding that HIIT can accomplish all that SSC can, and more, but
within a fraction of the time. HIIT is an exercise protocol where highly intense bouts of activity are interspersed with spells of complete or active rest.
Though there are a multitude of work and rest ratios that produce results, perhaps the most compelling is one that has been around since 1996- the Tabata workout. In the original 6-week research study in which participants exercised 5 days per week, Izumi Tabata and colleagues had one group of men do moderate intensity cycling for 1 hour, 5 days per week and had another group, after a 10 minute warm up, do highly intense 20 second cycling
intervals separated by only 10 second rest periods for a total of 4 minutes. The amazing results were that the HIIT group got fitter in only a fraction of the time. More recently researchers have been finding that HIIT, though significantly shorter in duration than SSC, increases energy expenditure throughout the day. So if you’re looking for the top way to burn fat, HIIT or Tabata are clearly the most effective and efficient ways.