Christmas is at our doorstep and with it comes the work Christmas parties, holidays, time off work/school, changes to our regular routine and eating patterns and an increase in the socializing and alcohol intake. On average us Aussies tend to gain 3-5 kilos over this time of year and come New Year we are frantically onto the cleansing diets, 12-week weight loss challenges and detoxes in order to repair our silly season aftermath. We then lose that 3-5 kilos and ‘boom’… up pops Winter and we start isolating and hoarding those excess kilos back again. It’s a vicious cycle and one I see far too often in the weight loss industry.
No, I’m not saying don’t let your hair down this season. That would be madness…Santa’s coming to town! But…what if we could literally have our cake and eat it too this Christmas?
A common topic of controversy in the fitness industry is whether physical activity affects weight control. This is mainly due to the overpopulation of unqualified ‘health gurus’ claiming to be ‘professionals’ publishing non-scientific literature on the internet.
One of the most common myths in the fitness industry would be that to lose belly fat one needs to engage in longer periods of low intensity cardio training in the highly sought after ‘fat burning zone.’ This myth was debunked in 2001 by Ross and Janssen.
What we have here is long periods of low to moderate cardio training (blue dots) Vs short periods of high interval cardio training (orange dots). As you can see the orange dots (high intensity) are above the line of effect whereas the blue dots (low to moderate) fall below the line of effect. Therefore, for a given number of calories burnt in these interventions the high intensity studies performed 1.7kg better. Not only will you lose 60% more weight on a high intensity program, you’ll get there in half the time!
Recently this year the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a systematic review and a meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (Viana et al. 2019). For those of you new to science publications, this is the grand daddy of all studies! It doesn’t just look at one peer reviewed article but multiple articles over a period of time. This study concluded that interval training does provide a total absolute fat loss (kg) when compared with moderate to low intensity exercise. Other benefits of HIIT when compared with low to moderate exercise included: greater increases in VO2 max, ventricular and endothelial function, greater or comparable improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, lower ratings of perceived exertion and similar or higher levels of enjoyment.
What does this mean for you and avoiding the Christmas bulge this season? It means that it’s time to up the HIIT sessions. A true HIIT training should be no longer than 30 minutes with short periods of rest. A good one to start with is to download an interval training clock app and set it to 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. In that 20 seconds you want to work as hard as humanly possible. Remember that the point of HIIT is to take yourself to a high intensity not to try and last the workout in comfort! Aim for 2-3 sessions per week. One great attribute of HIIT training is that you can get maximum benefits in a short period of time which is great for those that are time poor this silly season.
Better yet, have you tried our YourWorld Fitness Metafit classes? They are legitimately the crème de la crème of HIIT training. Why not aim to add one of our MetaFit or AfterBurn classes to your diary this week and taste the Basement Fit HIIT experience?
Take home message: Incorporate HIIT training into your training program to maximize your results and don’t believe all the gimmicks on the internet. Always do your research to avoid frustration and confusion in your health and fitness journey and to prevent the all too common yo-yo affect.
Merry Christmas YourWorld Super Troopers. I hope to see you in the club making some of that Christmas fat cry this silly season!
Author: The YourWorld Nerd -Jennifer Carroll
Viana, RB, Naves, JPA, Coswig, VS, de Lira, CAB, Steele, J, Fisher, JP & Gentil, P 2019, ‘Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT)’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 53, no. 10, pp. 655–664.