What is there not to love about high intensity interval training (HIIT)? Not only is this type of cardiovascular training best for improving both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, it is also the best type of cardio that you can perform to burn fat, particularly HIIT burns subcutaneous fat, which is the fat immediately underneath your skin.

Thanks to Canadian researchers, Tremblay and associates, we have a better understanding of how HIIT burns subcutaneous fat better than those long, boring, slow-paced 45 minute runs.

In this study, men and women were either place in the endurance training (ET) group (long, boring runs) or they were placed in the HIIT group (the training we love!). After many weeks of training, a skinfold test was performed on each participant to measure the amount of fat underneath the skin. Although the ET group expended more energy overall, the HIIT group actually burned 9 times more subcutaneous fat than the ET group! Amazingly, HIIT burns subcutaneous fat better than traditional methods!

Why?

The going theory to date is that HIIT alters the body’s biochemical makeup so that it prefers to use fat as fuel earlier than typical jogging. An additional benefit of the body prefering to use fat as an early fuel is that it prevents the breakdown of protein in muscle so you can maintain a lean look. Have you ever noticed the difference between sprinters and marathon runners? They both have little fat, but the sprinters have much more lean body mass, typically, than the marathon runners.

Finally, HIIT burns subcutaneous fat for at least another 24 hours after your workout because of excess post-exercise consumption or (EPOC), which is a process where the body uses additional energy to make repairs after a workout.

Sold yet?

To be honest, nowadays I perform mostly HIIT type of cardiovascular workout routines. It’s been a long while since I went on a leisurely jog.

Want to get started? Learn more about HIIT training here or choose a HIIT workout routine!

Reference

Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism