Why HIIT surpasses steady state cardio – for fat loss

HIIT is so effective because it burns body fat, builds muscle mass and improves your health in the process. It gives back so much with minimal effort.

One thing about HIIT which a lot of us grow to love is that it’s mentally and physically challenging – while worth the effort. Some of the best advantages that I’d like to mention are:

  • Better heart and lung health
  • Improved circulation
  • better cognition
  • improved metabolism
  • optimal hormonal environment
  • an ideal body composition

If you aren’t convinced of the benefits (which don’t even come close in the steady-state department), I’m not sure what will!

Here are some essential reasons why HIIT is far better than steady-state cardio when it comes to fat loss.

Four ways HIIT surpasses steady-state cardio for fat loss.

1. Faster fat loss. When compared to steady-state cardio, HIIT produces a significant fat loss, in a shorter amount of time.

One study conducted in 2010 found that just six sprint sessions of six 30 seconds all-out cycle sprints with 4 minutes rest over two weeks, lead to a leaner waist by 3cm, and much higher use of fat as fuel. Men in this study didn’t lose weight but increased their muscle mass and burnt body fat in the process. The shrinking of the waistline and increased fat oxidisation would have likely lead to more dramatic fat loss if they kept up this training for a few more months.

2. Sprints build muscle mass without lifting weights. You will build muscle mass and increase your power and strength with HIIT. This is only evident if you combine proper nutrition and the correct recovery. There will also be an improvement in your body composition due to the increase in anabolic hormones. In both men and women, sprints increase Human Growth Hormone, which is critical for fat burning and muscle building. This trigger does not activate with steady-state cardio.

3. Increasing endurance and work capacity. Studies show that sprinting is more effective than steady-state cardio for improving endurance capacity & oxygen uptake. This process takes place because of the repetitive intervals at high intensity. , leading to a couple of beneficial adaptations:-

• Increasing your bodies capacity to use more energy, efficiently, therefore increasing the amount of glycogen that can be stored in the muscle by as much as 20 per cent

• Sprints train the body to burn more fat stores while preserving muscle glycogen.

• HIIT leads to faster running and cycling speed – great news for those preparing for events

4. Insulin sensitivity improvement. Alternating bursts and rest periods improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar tolerance. Sprints decrease chronic inflammation and partly because the cells must adapt to a more efficiently produce energy to keep you going. You also have the benefit of the post-workout calorie burn – leading to a more potent fat loss environment.

All these benefits stated above are not apparent for steady-state cardio. In saying that, there is no harm in doing low-intensity cardio – but don’t count on it for massive fat loss. You need to push your body, but for short durations, to get the fat loss benefits.

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