HIIT Cardio: Do HIIT Workouts Burn More Fat?


Hey, what’s up guys? Sean Nalewanyj, of EliteImpactLabs.com
here. And in today’s video lesson, I want to talk a little bit about high intensity
interval training-based cardio versus traditional, slow pace, long duration cardio in terms of
their effects on overall fat loss and lean body mass. Now, for those of you who aren’t
familiar, high intensity interval training workouts are a style of cardio where the trainee
basically alternates between periods of high and low intensity throughout the duration
of the session. For example, you could do 60 seconds of high intensity followed by 60
seconds of low intensity or 15 seconds high intensity followed by 30 seconds high intensity,
et cetera. There are plenty of ways that the intervals can be structured. But the basic
idea is to train hard and explosively for short versed followed by a period of rest,
and then repeating it for anywhere from as few as five minutes up to probably a maximum
of about — of about 20 minutes. But which form of cardio is superior for overall fat
loss? Low intensity sessions in the range of 45 minutes to 60 minutes or high intensity
interval sessions in the 5-minute to 20-minute range? Now, for years we’ve been told that
we should be performing our cardio in a steady state where oxygen supply meets oxygen demand.
And the reason for this recommendation is because of the way that the body’s energy
systems work. When you exercise at a steady, low intensity pace, fat becomes the body’s
preferred source of energy. In comparison, high intensity bouts of training performed
intermittently will mainly use carbohydrates for fuel. So, given this information, it would
seem logical that the traditional 45-minute to 60-minute brisk walks on the treadmill
are the best way to maximize overall fat loss. But if you take a look at the bigger picture,
you’ll actually find that this is not quite the case. And the reason for this is that
although long duration, slow paced cardio burns a greater percentage of body fat during
the actual session, high intensity interval-based cardio burns a greater amount of total body
fat, lasting well beyond the initial exercise. When you train at a high level of intensity,
you create an oxygen deficit within your body. And your body is then forced to burn additional
calories for several hours afterwards in order to correct that deficit. Now, this is known
as, “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC” for short. Now, this is actually
translates to a significant amount of additional fat loss in comparison to slow paced cardio.
Well, over short periods of time, the difference is negligible. But fat loss is a gradual process
to begin with. So this really doesn’t come as any surprise. When you take a look at the
long term effects of high intensity interval cardio versus slow paced cardio, then the
differences start to become more noteworthy. One study which I’ll link in the description
box below, actually found that over a period of 20 weeks, trainees performing high intensity
cardio burned up to nine times more fat than the group doing the regular low intensity
variation. And not only that but the group performing the high intensity cardio also
retained a greater percentage of their lean body mass as well. So, if your goal is to
loss body fat while maintaining your hard-earned muscle, this is the exact effect that you
want to strive for. Now, does this mean that high intensity cardio should be used as a
complete replacement for traditional slow paced cardio? No, that’s not necessarily what
I’m saying. All I’m really pointing out here is that in a direct head-to-head comparison,
high intensity interval training burns more fat and spares more muscle than low intensity
cardio does. However, this comes at a price. High intensity cardio is more effective, but
it’s also more taxing on the body as a whole. So, depending on your individual recovery
ability, you know, executing a full weight training plan alongside several high intensity
cardio workouts per week might simply be too much to recover from. And this is where a
low intensity cardio can be used to help you strike a good overall balance. It may not
be as potent fat burner as high intensity cardio is, but it’s — it’s certainly still
effective, and it can help you burn through a few additional calories without overtraining
yourself. For most people following a fat loss program, a mix of high intensity cardio
and low intensity cardio is probably going to be ideal. For example, one to two high
intensity interval training workouts per week, and one to two low intensity sessions per
week, combined with your overall weight training plan. The best thing is to just play around
with it and see what works best for you as an individual. So, I hope you found this information
useful. If you did like the video, please make sure to leave a comment, subscribe to
stay up-to-date on future videos, and hit the like button below. To get your free 28-day
mass building plan, which includes a free workout, meal plan and supplement guide, make
sure to click the link in the description box to download that from EliteImpactLabs.com.
And make sure to join the Elite Impact Lab’s Facebook page, where we do free supplement
giveaways every Thursday night. Thanks again for watching this video. And I’ll talk to
you again soon with more free tips.

79 thoughts on “HIIT Cardio: Do HIIT Workouts Burn More Fat?

  1. Hey Sean, how do you transition from a lean gaining phase to a cut? Not a mini-cut, more like contest prep diet lasting a couple of months.

  2. Hey Sean what do you think about this: I do an interesting mixture of HIIT and slow cardio. Meaning I do a 30 minute slow cardio with four to five 40 second bursts in between. That gives me more time to rest. I used to do classical HIIT with short rest times, but It was too much suffering for me during the session. Now I rest about 2-3 minutes between bursts which enables me to them faster and I feel better 🙂

  3. Yep, that would work too. There's no one exact protocol. The bottom line is to burn calories, and that type of approach will work fine.

  4. Love the info thanks. I started doing HIIT and noticed big changes. Its true about the recovery. Found out the hard way :p

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  6. Okay, so I have a couple of questions/things I'm wondering about. 1) If you do 20 minutes of HIIT and then regular running/jogging for about 30-60 minutes, will the whole effect of burning more calories throughout the day be reduced? 2) How do you know if you've been doing your HIIT good enough for it to work? 3) How do you know if the calories are burning as they should? Also, how many calories do you burn DURING your HIIT session?

  7. 1 – Not sure I understand. If you perform low intensity cardio on top of HIIT you'll simply burn more total calories. 2 – Any HIIT will "work" in the sense that it will stimulate calorie burning. There isn't one single HIIT protocol. You can do longer intervals with less intensity or shorter/more intense. The bottom line is that if typical slow paced cardio is a 5/10 difficulty, HIIT should be an 8-10.

  8. 3 – No way to measure this accurately. Don't worry about specific calories burned – just focus on giving a good hard effort.

  9. Is 30 seconds hard sprint on the bike with some resistance, and down to a 60 second recovery time with no resistance ok to do for say 15 mins? Nice video as well thanks for the info!

  10. The specific timing of your cardio doesn't really matter. Just do it when you prefer and when it fits into your schedule. A mix of HIIT and low intensity works best for most people – find a balance that works for you.

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  18. ive been doing what i believe is HIIT training the last 3 weeks. i do 10 mins cardio at the start and then 40 mins of weight training and then finish off with 10 mins cardio. i do my weight training sets like this. i start off light and then jump up to heavier weights. i do this about 3-4 times each work out. am i doing this right?

  19. Hey Sean, I just wanted to know if it would be ok (in a cutting phase) to do your normal muscle building workout and then later in the afternoon perform cardio? Either high intensity or low intensity. Great videos with straight to the point information.

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  23. nice video man 🙂 im starting dieting in couple of weeks from now, and a few weeks in im going to start doing 1 to 2 sessions a week of hiit cardio I was going to do it it the morning for 20 mins max, before breakfast is this good or bad idear? and weight training at night well in the pm thanks

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  30. It comes down to this… it is not the type of cardio that you perform in order to burn the most fat. It is the fuel that you use before and after that programs your body to burn more fat than some other source. If I train on an empty stomach and my last meal was 10 hours ago… then I am already catabolic from the start of my cardio and burn more muscle while storing more fat. It is not the type of cardio that matters… it is the nutrient timing that helps you burn fat.

  31. So… in response… Which cardio burns more fat… neither. It depends on how you program your body to burn more fat in your workouts by your nutrition. Certainly Hiit workouts will burn more calories than low intensity cardio… sure. But calories can come from protein,fat,carbs,water or a combination there of. Fat is burned in the kitchen first… only then will whichever type of cardio you use will be most effective.

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  37. Thank you for that information Sean! I'm a newly qualified PT and I will help my first client in October and she wanted to do HIIT training! So cheers once again!

  38. Absolutely agree. Was weight training heavily for 2.5 years and yes I got good results in getting bigger and stronger. But I wanted to lose the bulk fat and get all that weight training to look effective in terms of body definition. Weight training does not do this anything as effectively as HIIT. So I made my own HIIT programme with the help of my trainer and in just two weeks, I'm seeing fat loss and definition that I never saw in 2.5 years of only weight training.

  39. This man knows what he is talking about, great video.
    HIIT (sprints) burns more fat and maintains more lean muscle than steady start cardio (jogging) Look at the difference between marathon runners and sprinters

  40. I find that I lose strength in my resistance workouts for a duration of 2-4days after every hiit session.. It happens even on during different muscle parts (sprint HIIT vs upper body resistance), e.g when I do sprint HIITs on sunday, monday to Wednesday my upperbody weight training posted negative result / no growth…. Is this also common ?

  41. Hey man good video. Just wondering, how would I incorporate 2 hiit days per week and STILL being able to have a leg workout day? I've been struggling to find out how to do this. If anyone has a recommendation or can give me their split that has helped them get ripped, please let me know!

  42. Hey man, if I train(lifting weights) my body 3 times a week, how many times should I do HIIT in a week?? I train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks!!

  43. So basically what you are saying is that if i do heavy weight training for 3 weeks i should alternate from HIIT and normla cardio?

  44. Steady Cardio is easier BUT tedious.. mix it up. If you got time do the slow workout. Best thing is suddenly I get energy at the gym and go HIIT. Anything is better than nothing. I have found out the hardest thing is actually going to the gym. After 10/15 mins don't wanna leave..

  45. HIIT cardio is an oxymoron. One is very different from the other. Cardio is aerobic exercise and HIIT is meant to be anaerobic exercise. Our muscles contain glycogen. Glycogen is a multi branched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in animals. Muscle glycogen is converted into glucose by muscle cells when we use those muscles anaerobically. So Anaerobic exercise 'emptys the tank' of glycogen in the muscles. the body then mobilizes stored fat to be metabolized into glycogen to fill the "empty tank". So simply minimize the intake of glucose (sugar and starch) and keep "emptying the tank"

  46. very informative video I also started doing HIIT with weight training thrice in a week.

    and found change in my body …

  47. very informative video I also started doing HIIT with weight training thrice in a week.

    and found change in my body …

  48. when you do HIIT you breath 10x more compare to a normal running or workout .fat burns or oxidize when you inhale oxygen then fat turns to co2 80% of fat turns to co2 and 15%t turns to urine or sweat. so the more you inhale oxygen the more fat you burn and above all tjat you dont stress your muscle alot less muscle lose and more gains

  49. I think he's doing HIIBT (High Interval Blink Training). I counted 307 blinks in 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Impressive.

  50. How should we approach hiit cardio on a bulk? probably just on rest days to burn some extra calories and not impead recovery?

  51. I do:
    LISS walks in a fasted state. I do this more frequently when it's a nice day to enjoy the weather and get some sun.

    HIIT cardio in a fed state. I do these much less frequently and only on the rare days where I am in a calorie surplus and have plenty of carbs in the tank.

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