Ask the experts: Does high intensity training really work for weight loss?

February 7, 2014 - Fitness

weight trainingHigh Intensity Training (HIT) is the new fitness craze for 2014, but the theory has in fact been around for some time. It focuses on the premise that exercise should be brief, infrequent and intense to stimulate the body to burn fat and increase muscle. At least, that’s what a lot of fitness centres are saying, but does it really work and is it a beneficial way to achieve long-term weight loss? We ask the experts if we should be changing our fitness regimes to HIT.

Burn fat fast and for good
“HIT is fantastic as it really pushes the body to its limits,” says The City Workout creator Kelly Du Buisson. “The workouts tend to be short (no more than 20-30 minutes) but because you constantly stop and start the muscles are completely fatigued, creating an energy deficit in the body, which you then spend the next 24 hours replacing using fat.”

Jamie Houghton, personal trainer and fat loss expert, agrees, “HIT does work, but it’s not the only answer,” he says. “It will maximise your fat burn by elevating your metabolic rate and maintain a high metabolism for longer duration, which in turn burns calories.”

Kelly also says that HIT is a good way of keeping the weight off for longer. “Unlike bouts of cardio it doesn’t break down muscle so you’ll burn fat and tone at the same time, which means you’re more likely to keep the weight off,” she explains.

Don’t do too much too soon
HIT can be an incredibly strenuous way of working out, however, and it is important to know what you’re doing, especially if you are new to exercise. “You need a certain amount of fitness to start with,” says Georgina Burnett health coach and presenter. “It would be dangerous to suggest a HIT workout without the guidance of an expert.”

Instead of jumping straight in to a full on HIT workout Georgina suggests a lighter version involving walking quickly for a couple of minutes, so that you get out of breath for a minute, then recovering and walking at a slower pace. Repeating this will begin your HIT training and when you’re ready you can hit the gym and get the full workout with the guidance of a professional.