Why does HIIT work so well?


I read something on a popular internet message board recently that prompted me write this. Although HIIT makes total sense once it is explained, I know many that are still struggling with the how and more so the why of it all.  Someone asked how does HIIT allow you to lose more weight (Fat) when you are burning less calories per session compared with traditional ‘long-slow-cardio’? After all, you are only going for about 10 min and then you are calling it a day. HIIT is not causing much calorie burning during your session; rather it causes your body to continue to burn AFTER your session and throughout the next several hours. How does it accomplish this? Something called EPOC. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.  

In studies, researchers found that EPOC lasts at least 38 hour after a high intensity type of training session (HIIT.) By elevating EPOC, your body will dramatically help burn calories all day long. It doesn’t get much better than that. The research is out there. Better yet, many trainers and coaches out there, including me have plenty of real life testimonials to back this up as well.  The question is simple: would you rather burn calories for the next 40 hours after you train, or just burn about 300 calories while you workout, only to stop the burning when you are finished. I think the answer for most is clear.

One Response to Why does HIIT work so well?

  1. David Jarzebowski says:

    Excellent post! I have found intervals to work quite well (I started doing them regularly about 6 weeks ago), but have always wondered why. Not anymore!

    On a slightly related note; is it worthwhile doing just 5 minutes of intervals (say 3-5 cycles) at the end of a 50 minute weight lifting session?

    Thanks, and keep up the excellent blogging.

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