HIIT Workouts Might Not Be Best for Weight Loss

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If you’re like us, just thinking about HIIT makes you sweat. HIIT, short for high-intensity interval training, is quick—usually 10 minutes or less—but painful.

Still, we do it because we’ve been told HIIT is the best way to burn calories, lose weight, and get a healthier heart. Metabolic Adaptations to Short-term High-Intensity Interval Training: A Little Pain for a Lot of Gain? Martin J. Gibala,1 and Sean L. McGee2 1 Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and 2 Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia But a new study found that HIIT is no more effective than moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) when it comes to weight loss. It’s just that with HIIT, you burn calories faster, so you can get away with working out for a shorter amount of time.

In other words, interval training isn’t significantly more effective than, say, a long run. In fact, a long run might actually lead to greater fat loss than interval training—if it lasts long enough to burn more calories. Amazing news, right?

Woman sprinting on a track

If you’re pressed for time and willing to go seriously hard, stick with HIIT—you’ll burn way more calories in 10 minutes than you would on a 10-minute run. But if you have the time and aren’t prepared to die (or at least feel like death), going for a run—or a long walk, bike ride, swim, or anything that gets your heart rate up—can still help you work toward those weight-loss goals.

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