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Weight loss and Resistance/Interval Training: Make sure you're HIITING it for BEST results!

October 06, 2013 4 min read

YEARS ago when you wanted to lose weight, you may have received this advice...

"Go out for a  run!" or "Go on a diet!"

While yes, these two options, aerobic exercise and dieting, DO work to lose weight, alone they will not give you the long lasting results you want. Weight loss is a factor of energy in vs. energy out. So basically, if a person consumes less energy (i.e. food), then they expend (i.e. work off with exercise OR even at rest), they will lose weight. AWESOME. Sounds SO easy right? But say, you are just dieting or just doing cardio and start to see the pounds coming off. Is this the type of weight loss you inevitably want, that carry long lasting results? IDEAL weight loss is a factor of reducing fat mass, but MAINTAINING  lean mass. Let's look at a few ways people may try to lose weight.


When focusing on diet alone by cutting calories often with very low calorie diets, it usually results in a loss of lean mass and a decrease in resting metabolic rate (or the rate at which your body burns calories at rest). Both of which are NOT an ideal scenario. So diets where the focus is only on calorie restriction/ skipping meals etc., often have very low success rates in the long term. Not to mention feeling HUNGRY ALL THE TIME! I know this can put me in a real fantastic mood.


Adding aerobic activity to a restricted diet is probably the most popular form of weight loss. The steady combination of a restricted diet, plus continuous activity will increase caloric loss and therefore lead to weight loss. Just like restricting diet alone, adding aerobic activity will lead to weight loss. But again, if the goal is the maintenance of lean muscle mass and loss of fat mass, aerobic activity, even coupled with restricted diet, doesn't always give that positive  result. Multiple studies have shown  that there is in fact a loss in lean muscle mass, when restrictive diet is coupled with endurance training. It's not to say you shouldn't go out and get your cardio in. Aerobic training is excellent for maintaining healthy heart and lung function, and will increase cardiovascular fitness and endurance among other things. God knows I NEED my runs to clear my mind and de-stress. BUT, if looking at an ideal combination of weight loss and maintenance of lean muscle mass, several trials have concluded that adding resistance training to aerobic exercise and diet modification, leads to the greatest gains across the board.


Resistance/strength training has numerous benefits. Not only does it promote emotional and mental health, but is highly recommended for people of all ages and even those not in perfect health. It helps with obesity, arthritis and osteoporosis (by increasing bone density and decreasing risk of fractures), diabetes (by controlling blood glucose), and those who suffer from back pain and other injuries. These are just a few of the benefits of adding resistance training to your workout. Now, resistance training ALONE will not cause weight loss, but WILL raise resting metabolic rate and promote fat free mass. Going one step further and adding intense resistance training or HIIT workouts to your resistance program, have shown to add the greatest benefits. These elevations in exercise intensity thru the HIIT workouts, increases muscle mass and therefore increases resting energy expenditure by about 10-15 calories per day per pound (this is how much more your body can burn at REST!). May not sound like a lot, but in a year a 1 pound muscle gain can equate to a loss of 1 pound of fat at a RESTING state in a year. What is also great about adding the combination of HIIT and resistance training to your program, means you can tolerate the work a lot better as well. Many people cannot tolerate long sessions of intense steady state aerobic workouts. BUT, intense interval training can be tolerated and also boosts great caloric burn as well.   When programming for fat loss, maintenance of lean muscle mass and post workout caloric burn, adding resistance and interval training to your workouts will promote the greatest gains especially in combination with a modified diet. Perfect example of this type of work are DailyHiit workouts where you are adding weight resistance i.e. with the sandbag, T-bar, Ugi ball, body weight exercises etc along with skipping rope, burpees and other cardio intervals. With the resistance work, you are promoting the maintenance of lean mass, while encouraging fat loss and caloric burn with the cardio bouts. With these short recovery segments of rest, you are able to keep working at that high intensity without sacrificing form. Another great benefit with this type of program is known as EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Basically, when you work as hard as you do during HIIT workouts, your body cannot take in enough oxygen as it needs during the workout, so you end up accumulating an oxygen "debt" that needs to be replenished after the hard interval workout. Your metabolism is then revved up for hours after you workout to get that oxygen 'debt' replaced and back to normal. Using resistance training combined with the interval work, your body creates more lean muscle mass and strengthens your cardiovascular system as well! I can't tell you how much faster my 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon times were from using HIIT training programs. Nothing came close to the results I got from this type of work. And best of all, you don't have to spend hours in a gym when you train efficiently! HIIT training has changed my life in how I train clients, teach my classes and myself as well! With 2 very active kids and  one on the way, I don't even have the time if I wanted to to train for an hour or more. And really, it's not even necessary. I get better results utilizing this resistance/HIIT combination and can get back to the finer things in life that REALLY DO take up my time! [caption id="attachment_28091" align="alignnone" width="300"]27 weeks and still HIITing it! 27 weeks and still HIITing it![/caption]

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