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?
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.