HIIT has long now been the at the forefront of most decent personal trainers minds when it comes to fat loss. HIIT or high intensity interval training can really deliver excellent results not only when it comes to fat loss, but also in increasing the VO2 max in athletes- the ability to take up and use oxygen by the body- in a word fitness.
To perform HIIT correctly the body must be pushed to its limit. Too many times have I seen individuals thinking that they were doing HIIT when all they were doing was very lazy interval training! In traditional HIIT protocols work intervals are kept to about a 2-1 ration. This is for example one round of 20 seconds at maximum intensity followed by a 40 second slow steady state recovery period. This is repeated up to 8 times. HIIT is performed for around 15 minutes but not more than 20. Another very popular technique that utilizes similar protocols is the Tabata method. The Tabata method espouses that 8 rounds should be completed with the work period being 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. The Tabata method is now being pushed as the ultimate fat loss method.
For many years steady state long distance cardio was thought to be the best way to shape up and lose weight and on some levels it is. The body starts to metabolize more fat as its primary source of energy around the 25 minute of steady state aerobic exercise. So why is HIIT great for fat loss? This may be down to the metabolic shift that this technique can produce. After steady state aerobic training your bodies metabolic rate quickly drops back down to a normal level while using the HIIT method it has been proven in one study by Remblay A, and Simoneau JA, Bouchard C (1994) in "Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism '' that the metabolic rate increases and stays at a much higher rate after exercise with the Tabata and high intensity interval training method.
So what are good HIIT exercises? You need to pick exercises that a compound in nature, open chain movements and if possible involve moving the whole body at once. My favorite selection for this protocol is Burpees, Thrusters, Lizard Crawls and Power Cleans. My favorite method is the Tabata method, as this seems to produce the greatest fat loss in both my clients and myself. HIIT and fat loss really do go hand in hand and I've had some miraculous results not only in weight loss but fitness gains too. Not only that these protocols are much kinder on the joints of the body than steady state long distance Cardio exercise that can wear away the joints and is not nearly as effective.