The high-intensity interval training known as the “fat-burning machine” burns up to 200 calories in two minutes

HIIT is one of the most popular workouts in the world, according to the World Fitness Trends Survey; it combines high-intensity exercise with rest and is more efficient than aerobics.

Very powerful and with good results. HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a physical activity in which high-intensity and low-intensity exercises are interspersed to “squeeze” the body’s maximum potential. And in turn, it is chosen by many because of its short duration since a session of this training lasts less than 45 minutes and sometimes up to twenty.

HIIT is anaerobic: it seeks to do high-intensity work that is perceived as ‘hard’; for that same reason, it cannot be sustained for a long time and alternates these periods of high intensity with rest times,” explains Virginia Zehnder, a trainer specializing in HIIT. She adds that it is advisable to do them between two, three, and a maximum of four times a week so that the body’s rest periods are respected, and it can recover from the effort made.

Due to the maximum intensity to which the body is exposed, it is very common for the person to have tired muscles and shortness of breath says the trainer. But these symptoms are normal. HIIT allows you to achieve the same results as a long-duration cardio workout, but instead of needing an hour-long session, 20 minutes can be enough.

It is an absolutely effective physical activity because it not only improves health-related aspects but in a short time, those who practice sessions regularly obtain obvious physical results such as fat loss, improved body composition, and greater muscle tone, among other skills that improve the functionality of our body,” says Zehnder.

This training applies to different physical activities: bicycle, Russian weights, treadmill, suspension training, and the like. It stands out for varying the exercises and the times of rest and activity. Although professionals warn that if you are starting with the training, it is important to go slowly and start with reduced work times and increase them as the body gets used to HIIT.

The World Fitness Trends Survey has announced that HIIT is among the most popular types of training in the world.
The World Survey of Fitness Trends has announced that HIIT is among the most popular types of training in the world / Photo: antoniodiaz – Shutterstock.

According to specialists, HIIT is short, intense, and powerful. And it can include a combination of the following exercises: sprints, jumping rope, stationary cycling, plyometric exercises -such as box jumps or burpees- and weightlifting circuits. An example of a HIIT routine might be: doing 60-second sprints, in which you do short intervals every 15 seconds and slow down to rest.

A study by the University of Victoria in Australia concluded that this workout is more effective at increasing fat burning than aerobic exercise. The researchers evaluated 511 people who participated in different control groups: supervised HIIT training, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and a group that did not exercise.

What were the results? After 12 weeks of HIIT training, the participants’ bodies were found to become a “fat-burning machine.” The professionals noted that those who did high-intensity training burned more fat during training sessions and other types of physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, and sports.

Professor Zeljko Pedisic, who led the study, pointed out that for high-intensity times to be effective, the heart rate needs to be above 80% of the person’s maximum capacity. At the same time, Pedisic added that HIIT is ideal for those who want to eliminate fat in a localized way in the body.

Other research conducted by the University of Colorado showed that this training could burn up to 200 calories in just two and a half minutes of high-intensity exercise when interspersed with longer recovery periods. The study volunteers underwent five sets of 30 seconds on a bicycle, pedaling at maximum speed with high resistance. They were interrupted by 4-minute recovery periods in which they pedaled more slowly with very low resistance. As a result, they managed to burn 200 calories in less than 25 minutes.

Research published in the Journal of Physics found how an athlete's endurance, speed, agility and power improved when doing HIIT
Research published in the Journal of Physics found how an athlete’s endurance, speed, agility, and power improved when doing HIIT / Photo: Unsplash.

In addition, in terms of its benefits, HIIT training is a more demanding workout for endurance. Proof of this is research published in the Journal of Physics that found how an athlete’s endurance, speed, agility, and power improved when doing HIIT. This is because high-intensity training leads to key physiological adaptations such as cardiovascular efficiency – hence better oxygen consumption – and tolerance to lactic acid buildup – a substance produced by muscle tissue and red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.

And as if the scientific demonstrations already laid out were not enough, the World Fitness Trends Survey announced that HIIT is among the most popular types of training in the world thanks to its health benefits.

HIIT is all the rage, and it’s because of its obvious results: it improves fitness, and at the same time, it’s starting to be noticeable that the body is gaining good muscle tone and losing fat,” Zehnder concludes.