When it comes to fitness goals, building muscle and burning fat are two of the most common. While these goals may seem contradictory, there is a type of workout that can help you achieve both: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Here's how it works.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a form of cardio exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. For example, you might sprint for 30 seconds, rest for 60 seconds, and repeat for a total of 10 to 15 minutes. HIIT can be done with various forms of cardio exercise, such as running, cycling, or jumping rope.
How does HIIT build muscle?
While traditional strength training is often thought of as the best way to build muscle, HIIT can also be effective. The intense bursts of activity in HIIT workouts can stimulate muscle growth by activating fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers have the greatest potential for growth and are typically activated during explosive movements like sprinting.
In addition, HIIT can also help you maintain muscle mass while burning fat. During traditional cardio exercises like jogging or cycling, your body can break down muscle tissue for energy if you're in a calorie deficit. But with HIIT, you're burning calories at a high rate and still building muscle, helping you preserve your lean body mass.
How does HIIT burn fat?
HIIT is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. The high-intensity intervals can increase your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more calories throughout the day. In addition, HIIT workouts can help you burn more calories during the workout itself, compared to lower-intensity cardio exercises like jogging.
HIIT can also increase your levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a hormone that can help your body burn fat and build muscle. HGH levels naturally decline as we age, so boosting them through exercise can be particularly beneficial for older adults.
Tips for getting started with HIIT
If you're new to HIIT, it's important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Aim to do HIIT workouts 2-3 times per week, and give your body time to recover between sessions.
You can start with simple intervals, such as 30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 60 seconds of rest or lower-intensity exercise. As you get more comfortable with the workouts, you can increase the duration of the high-intensity intervals or reduce the rest periods.
In conclusion, HIIT is a highly effective way to build muscle and burn fat. By incorporating HIIT workouts into your fitness routine, you can stimulate muscle growth, maintain muscle mass while burning fat, and boost your metabolism. Just remember to start slowly, give your body time to recover, and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. With dedication and consistency, you can achieve your fitness goals and enjoy the many benefits of HIIT.