Debunking the Most Common Myths About HIIT Workouts

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardiovascular training with short intervals of anaerobic exercise and increasingly lesser recovery period. HIIT helps burn a high number of calories in a very short period of time and is an important part of fat loss regimes as well as for athletic sessions. Though HIIT is not a very new concept, there are still many myths revolving among fitness amateurs. So today we try to debunk seven most common myths related to HIIT.

Myth: HIIT and Cardio are the same

While both of them involve following the same basic rule, i.e., to keep the heart-beat elevated during the entire workout, the workout session is made keeping many different aspects in mind.

HIIT may involve a variety of exercises like burpees, push-ups, squats, etc. with different variations done at maximum effort for a fixed time interval with a specific set rest time. The time interval is set to provide maximum workout time with decreasing rest time. During the workout, the active heartbeat is kept at 90-95% rate with rest heart-beat at 40-45%. At this rate, the exercise is more of an anaerobic type.

Cardio, on the other hand, involves a prolonged period of the elevated heartbeat with almost no rest period, done at an intermediate intensity. The main aim is to keep the heartbeat up and going with the exercise being mostly aerobic. Exercises can include jogging, burpees, etc.

The basic workout regime differs in rest periods and aerobic/anaerobic workout. If your aim is loose fat with muscle building, HIIT is the best option.

Myth: HIIT is better than steady-state cardio

This is a common notion that an intense HIIT session is more effective than steady-state cardio. It is not entirely true because the type of workout depends on your fitness goals. If you are aiming for fat loss, HIIT would definitely be the better option. Steady state cardio is done to maintain a heart rate up to 65-70% and is aimed at improving heart and lung health, as well as improve blood circulation and overall health. So design your work out depending on your health goals.

Myth: HIIT is enough

As much as HIIT seems to work, it is not enough if you want to lose fat as well as gain muscles. As the name suggests, HIIT is intended to work on shredding fat and losing calories. HIIT workouts help by increasing the metabolism of the body, but you have to include weight training in your session if you want to strengthen the muscle. Take it like adding more fuel in your tank if you want to go for a long distance, but if you want to carry the biggest load for the same distance, you have to have a bigger engine with more horsepower. So HIIT is for distance (fat loss) and weight training is for more horsepower (muscle).

Myth: Age is not a bar

While the name might not give you a feel of what strenuous sessions this might be, HIIT is not a walk in the park. While there is always a beginner level, it’s like going for a short marathon knowing that you cannot even run for a mile. So, if you are a total novice, or if you are restarting after a long gap, it is advised to build up your stamina for a couple of days with normal to intermediate cardio sessions before going for a full-fledged HIIT session. Consider it as a pre-HIIT warm-up session lasting for days instead of minutes.

Myth: The longer, the better

It is a common myth that doing more cardio can help burn more calories and hence more fat. While the former might be true to a certain extent, the latter is a total assumption. A prolonged period of cardio has shown to use some of your stored energy reserves and then turn to breakdown your hard-built muscles to supply energy. As for HIIT, it is a common saying that if you are doing HIIT for more than 3 times a week, you aren’t doing it right. A proper HIIT session, if done right, is too gruesome and takes a heavy toll on the energy reserves of the body and you need to take a good rest of at least one day before your next session. Also, there is a concept of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) which states that after an intense anaerobic exercise session, the body keeps oxygen to remove all lactic acid build up in the muscles. This process requires energy which is made available by burning fat and finally boosting metabolism. Therefore, keep the session short, intense and take proper rest for maximum benefit.

Myth: Any exercise can be included

HIIT is aimed at burning calories and rep up the heart, but the exercises chosen for that has a huge impact on the result. Try not to stick with the same set of repetitive exercises like push ups, sit ups, etc. Try to include more compound exercises that involve the whole body like burpees, bear crawls, squats, circuit training etc. Mix your sessions up, design new circuits and keep it interesting.

Myth: HIIT alone is sufficient for fat loss

Muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym. What you eat has probably more effect on your fat content as compared to how much you sweat out in the gym. So, make sure you analyze what you eat, count the calories you consume, and keep it a balanced diet. Break your 3-big-meals in five smaller ones so that you never feel full yet have a constant energy supply.

HIIT is a very efficient fat loss and stamina building regime, as well as quite an efficient test for one’s fitness level. Just make sure you have your facts as well as planning right so that you can reap maximum benefits.

The Biggest Weight Loss Myths You Need to Stop Believing Today

We now live in such modern times that you can’t help but be obsessed with weight loss. It’s hard to avoid new and interesting notions because you would try anything to lose those extra kilos, no? Every day there is a new super diet or a super food, pills or green drinks that promise to help tackle your weight loss woes. If you want to stay fit and healthy while losing weight, then you need to stop believing these biggest weight loss myths right away.

Myth: Skipping meals is the best way to lose weight.

Many, many people skip their meals and think that this is the best way to lose weight. This is incorrect beyond your wildest measures. Starving not only makes you weak, but it also increases your cravings for high-calorie food.

Myth: Drinking many litres of water helps in weight loss.

Sometimes, it’s great to drink water instead of reaching for that bag of salty chips or sweet sugary processed biscuits. Drinking water to fill your stomach so you would eat less will again make you cranky, nutrient-poor, and crave for foods that are high-fat, high sugar. This is not so good for weight loss.

Myth: Exercise daily for an hour to lose weight.

Everyone has a different body. Some people think doing high-intensity exercises and eating less during the day will help them lose weight. This is not true. Truth is, you need to make up for all the times you are sitting down by moving your body in the day. Different workouts suit different people.

Myth: The more hours you do the workout, the more you’ll lose the weight.

No! Exercising too much will make you fatter. This is because the more calories you burn, the hungrier it makes you. There is exhaustion leading to hormonal exhaustion and that increases your body’s tendency to store fat.

Myth: I go to the gym so I can eat that.

When you go to the gym, the exercise and fitness routines help you justify the food you are already eating. If you think you can eat extra or eat “bad food” and then go to the gym, it will not make a difference. In fact, it will take you longer to lose those extra kilos you put on for letting yourself go last weekend.

Myth: Only white sugar is the bad sugar.

Whether it’s white sugar or brown sugar, all sugars have the same makeup source, that is glucose, fructose, sucrose or a combination. You need a little sugar which you can get from fruits or good food items like sweet yogurt which also has calcium and protein. So make sure you control the servings of pastries and soft drinks to reduce the intake of sugar.

Myth: Artificial sweeteners help weight loss.

You’ll find these in diet soda drinks, energy drinks, sugar-free chewing gum. Artificial sweeteners are loaded with fake sugars. These are addictive and that’s why you keep consuming these products. Artificial sweeteners disturb your metabolism, your appetite and cause weight gain.

Myth: I can pop “pills” or “drink this” to lose weight easily.

This is one of the most cynical myths, they are not safe for you at all. We are talking about the unlicensed, unpatented, unprescribed pills in the market. These products have harmful chemicals that are terrible for you. Consult a certified doctor before you indulge in quick-fixes as these.

Myth: Low-fat food is great for losing weight and keeping it off.

That low-fat food is heaped with sugar! When your body can’t process excess sugar, it stores it back in your body as fat. You need good fat, essential fatty acids, for example from dry fruits like almond, coconut oil, etc. for proper cell growth, glowing skin and even to lose excess weight!

Myth: Snacking between the meals is bad for you.

For your blood sugar to stay normal, you need food in your body every 3-4 hours. When the blood sugar is normal, you won’t get unwanted sugar or salt cravings. If your body thinks it’s deprived of sugar or salt to stabilize the blood sugar, then it will go into survival mode and make you reach for that cupcake or chips.

Myth: Eating certain foods will help me lose weight.

Some people believe eating chilies will help you lose weight. Although some calories are burnt while digesting chillies, the calories lost is very insignificant. If you want to improve your metabolism, it’s better for you to workout instead.

Myth: It is better to lose weight slowly.

Some people assume that if you lose weight quickly, you will gain it back at the same rate too. That’s why most keep away from programs that help you lose quickly. It is not entirely true if you loose that weight through a structured program and a good balance of food and exercise. Research shows that those who lose a lot of weight in a short time, reach their weight loss goals quickly and that motivates them to stay that way.

Myth: Don’t eat carbs after lunch.

Ideally, eating fewer carbs at night will reduce calorie intake and increase your metabolism which helps you lose weight. Avoiding carbs completely reduces your metabolism which will make it harder for you to lose weight. Weight loss is not about carbs, it’s about how active you are and how many calories you burn each day.