Is HIIT overrated in losing fat?

HIIT is one of the most effective ways to shed that stubborn body fat, allowing us to forgo spending endless amounts of time in the gym working out. It surpasses steady state cardio, in terms of fat loss performance, and preserving muscle mass whilst trying to lose body fat. It most definitely has it’s advantages in this department.

There is also a fine line between cardio and it’s performance for fat loss. Do we need to do this on a daily basis, or can we minimise the amount of cardio we do? What are the long term effects of this?

The downfalls

There are a few downfalls which can throw HIIT from it’s thrown. A number of people do not know, or have been mislead on the actual technique required to achieve those body fat burning goals. Most of the time, effectiveness of the sessions is deemed by how ‘thrashed’ you feel after it’s completion. There becomes an obsession with reaching this level at all times in order to experience success.

What about your fitness levels?

Most of the time we have to wonder, if the people performing HIIT, are within the fitness and stamina range, or are they newcomers to exercise. Again, this can cause quite a lot of imbalances and injuries if you do not know how to properly execute this strategy. HIIT does place your nervous system, muscles and joints in incredibly strenuous environment. Even more so if you are training this way more than 3 times per week. The question of safety does need to be posed when it comes to the obese, unfit or anyone a little bit older.

Therefor, is HIIT really needed?

Well, this is a yes and no answer.

If you are new to the game, I would say that starting small is your best plan of action. Enlist the help of a professional to run through the proper techniques and this will save you days off training consistently, due to injury, or cause more harm than good in other ways. Once you feel confident in what to are doing, slowly allow yourself to transition towards higher levels of intensity, but only as your fitness and experience grow. Play it safe in the beginning, especially if you are overweight. It’s better to allow the time and space to increase your fitness levels, without any ill effects.

Don’t forget your diet plays a huge part in fat loss

One thing that’s important too, would be the diet you currently have. What is your regular intake of food, and how does it sit on a macronutrient level? The quality of food is far more important in your weight loss plan than any form of exercise.

The calorie myth

Remember too that burning a huge amount of calories should not be your primary focus or aim. It’s understandable that HIIT does burn lots of calories, and that looks great on your FitBit, but is it really worth the risk of illness and injury? Yes, HIIT can make you catch colds and flu as well. Immune system shocks are not abnormal, neither is insomnia or higher levels of cortisol. If you are insistent on using some form of cardio, why not implement incidental (and gentle) exercise into your regime. The whole aspect of good health, weight loss and body composition changes, starts with moving your body regularly, incorporating good quality foods, and getting some rest.

I do hope this helps you somewhat. Remember, everything in moderation is beneficial, it’s when we overdo certain aspects, we can experience a lot of negative consequences.

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