Short & Intense Workouts: The Secret To Burning More Calories

 

African American senior couple walking on the beach

For many years I worked out and tried nearly every workout craze that existed. I used to put in long hours at the gym. I would work out with various personal trainers to achieve a cut and defined body. Then I met someone who was in incredible shape and asked them what they did to stay in shape. They let me in on their secret: high-intensity interval training, or HIIT workouts.

READ: Burn More Calories Than Running!

Surprisingly, short – but intense – periods of exercise are more effective than working out for a longer, continuous period. Fifteen or 20 minute intervals of intense exercise, studies have shown, can increase fitness and help burn more fat. Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification at the American College of Sports Medicine, told TIME, “The return on investment of interval training is fabulous, and it keeps exercise interesting.” 

What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata (a type of HIIT) are short, intense workouts that are usually 20 minutes or less. Doing a 20-minute workout to achieve maximum results seemed counterintuitive to me and it probably does to you as well. You may have been taught to do 30 minutes or more of cardio and then do some weight lifting on the back end of your workout. So, you might be thinking, how is it possible to work out for less than 20 minutes and get in better shape?

HIIT workouts are effective because of the high intensity of the workout and mixing up the variations of what you are doing so that you don’t plateau. You force your body to work harder for short periods of time, and this results in significant benefits for your body.