Adrienne Youdim MD, FACP

Get Leaner Faster with High Intensity Interval Training

Do you want to get leaner faster?

With summer well underway most of us are thinking how to get summer ready…yesterday.

HIIT may be the answer!

While eating right is the mainstay for weight loss the benefits of exercise cannot be understated. In addition to helping burn fat and maintain muscle, regular physical activity has been shown to:

  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Reduce cancer risk
  • Maintain a sharp mind
  • Reduce depression and anxiety
  • Result in a longer life

Just to mention a few benefits!

But with our increasingly busy schedules finding time is often the biggest barrier to starting an exercise regimen. The good news is studies are demonstrating that we can gain more in less time with HIIT.

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training involves repeatedly exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, separated by 1–5 minutes of low intensity exercise.

Here are the benefits of HIIT as compared to continuous aerobic exercise:

  • Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous fat
  • More calories burned during exercise and in the 24 hours following exercise
  • Greater reduction in total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol) and greater improvements in HDL (the good cholesterol)
  • Reductions in blood sugar and greater insulin sensitivity
  • Improvements in blood pressure
  • Improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness

Many gyms and fitness instructors are offering HIIT classes but signing a gym membership is not the only way to go. Try this at home!

  • Jump in place for 20-45 second intervals followed by 10-15 seconds of rest
  • Push ups, squats, lunges, jabs, burpees, jump rope, jumping jacks or combinations of all of the above work too

HIIT has been shown to be safe but injuries can occur. Remember to warm up and cool down and follow your body’s cues. Consult your doctor if you are not sure if you are ready to start an exercise program.


Pate et al – Physical Activity and Public Health
A Recommendation From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine – JAMA. 1995;273:402-407
Evidence based exercise: Clinical benefits of high intensity interval training – T Shiraev, G Barclay – Australian family physician, 2012 –


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