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How HIIT workouts burn fat & build muscle

You’ve no doubt heard of HIIT workouts – high intensity interval training – which are short burst of intense exercise (usually strength/resistance training combined with cardio movements) followed by short rest periods. HIIT is a type of metabolic training which combines strength training and aerobic cardio exercise and is focused on reaching 80% of your maximum heart rate. This type of workout boasts maximal benefits in a short amount of time.

We often hear that HIIT workouts make us fitter and stronger, but we don’t always hear ‘the how’. We will explain metabolic training in much more detail below, but put simply:

  • HIIT workouts combine strength/resistance training with aerobic cardio to burn fat and build muscle simultaneously
  • This leads to a better basal metabolic rate (BMR)
  • A better basal metabolic rate burns more energy at rest, which means we reap the benefits of our workout well after we have left the gym
  • Burning energy at rest leads to less body fat

Let’s talk a little more about metabolic training and the benefits of including metabolic training in your weekly routine:

1. Improved performance

The goal of metabolic training is to improve your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. It means that you are increasing your aerobic fitness and stamina while also building muscle mass. Doing a 30-minute session can be equivalent to an hour or more of moderate intensity cardio workout, which means you have more time for other activities.

2. Torch more body fat

Metabolic training or resistance training in general promotes more muscle building than your typical cardio training on the treadmill or cross trainers. Since muscle is more metabolically active than body fat, the higher muscle mass, the more energy you burn to keep off the stubborn fats in your body.

3. Increased metabolic rate

Metabolic training can improve resting metabolic rate by around 5-10% more and can increases levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is important for the promotion of weight loss through improved caloric burn, fat loss and preservation of lean muscle mass.

Post-exercise, your body is in an oxygen debt state, so even if the session is already done, it still works to bring back to normal your oxygen levels, leading to the ‘afterburn’ effect of doing an intense workout which contributes to 10-20% of your total calorie burn. This effect can last for hours depending on the intensity of your workout.

Say hello to FIIT30

With competing demands and hectic schedules, many women have difficulty finding time in their busy lives for exercise. FIIT30 is Fernwood Fitness’s exclusive HIIT program for women, with 30-minute maximum intensity workout for women to get fitter, leaner and stronger. These sessions are all about high intensity exercise that delivers a killer full body express workout. Find out more about FIIT30.


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