Weight Management

The Most Effective Type of Activity for Fat Loss

Nathan Carr/ Smart Fit Group 24 April, 2014

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There is an increased awareness of obesity worldwide, largely due to the fact that a growing number of people are becoming overweight and obese.

As we know being overweight has many implications on ones health and quality of life, it is clear that changes to diet and physical activity are the primary methods for one to lose weight.

Research has shown that most types of physical activity can improve your overall health and even help to prevent the risk of debilitating disease.  However, one form of activity is widely considered to be the most effective for achieving fat loss.


What Is The Most Effective Type Of Activity?

An abundance of studies have shown that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can facilitate greater fat loss results in half the time commitment in comparison to Steady State Exercise (SSE), which would make HITT an extremely efficient method indeed.

SSE is generally described as an activity that is performed at a level low enough to be maintained for long periods.  Whereas, HITT requires the participant to alternate between high intensity and low intensity activity, this is because high intensity activity is difficult to maintain for an extended periods.


Why Is It The Most Effective Type of Activity?

The high intensity portion of the activity often lasts for 8-30 seconds and is known to have a long lasting effect on your metabolism, with some studies suggesting that an elevated metabolism can last up to 24 hours post exercise.

This elevation in metabolism is often referred to as ‘after burn’; it allows your body to continue burning a higher number of calories after the activity has been completed, whereas with SSE you only burn calories during the activity.  In fact, in comparison to SEE it is possible for your body to utilise the same amount of energy in half the activity time.


How Do You Perform This Activity?

There are many HIIT protocols that have been studied and one of the least demanding but most effective involves an 8-second cycling sprint followed by 12 seconds of low intensity cycling for a period of 20 minutes. This was conducted 3 times per week for 15 weeks and facilitated a major reduction in body fat.

With regards to modality, studies have primarily used a stationary cycle, however other modalities such as walking, rowing, running, stair climbing, swimming and resistance training have the potential to be just as effective.


Who Is This Activity For?

Accumulating evidence suggests that HIIT has the potential to be an economical and effective exercise protocol for reducing fat of overweight individuals.  It has also shown to be both safe and beneficial for adolescents, young men and women, older individuals and a number of patient groups.  However, more research needs to be conducted to establish the most beneficial HIIT protocol that is optimal for the different segment of the population

Remember, it is always best practice to consult you physician before changing your activity level, as they will be able to guide you on what is safe and practical for you as an individual.





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