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High Intensity Exercises Can Lower Your Body Fat More than Traditional Endurance Training

Another related study published in the Journal of Obesityv reports that 12 weeks of high intensity interval training (HIIT) not only can make significant reductions in total abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat, but also can give you significant increases in fat-free mass and aerobic power.  In this study, in which young overweight males were randomly assigned to either HIIT exercise or a control group, the following health benefits were achieved by the exercising group doing just 20 minutes of high intensity exercises three times a week for three months:

  • Aerobic power increased by 15 percent
  • Reduction of total fat mass: 2 kg
  • Visceral fat reduced by 17 percent

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Personally, I recommend incorporating both super-slow/high-intensity resistance training and other high intensity interval exercises into your fitness regimen, as the variety will help optimize results. In both cases, as long as you’re doing the exercises at maximum intensity, you can reduce the frequency. So if you follow the Super Slow routine Dr. McGuff recommends, your weight training program can be reduced to just one 12-minute session once a week, and your anaerobic cardio to one or two 20-minute sessions a week.

I personally don’t feel comfortable yet with this approach, but I don’t dispute its validity.  I still do two one-hour weight training sessions per week that have some element of super slow, but also some functional and power movements for a wide variety. I used to do three weight sessions and three high-intensity Peak Fitness exercises a week but realized that did not give me enough recovery, so I dropped down to two weight sessions and one Peak Fitness a week and that seems to be working for me now.

I recommend using a recumbent bicycle or an elliptical machine for your high intensity interval training, although you certainly can use a treadmill, or sprint anywhere outdoors. However, unless you are already an athlete, I would strongly advise against sprinting, as several people I know became injured doing it the first time that way. .

Here are the core principles:

  • Warm up for three minutes
  • Then, go all out, as hard as you can for 30 seconds
  • Recover for 90 seconds
  • Repeat 7 more times, for a total of 8 repetitions
  • C
  • ool down for a few minutes afterward by cutting down your intensity by 50-80 percent

The first repetition is usually pretty easy as your starting heart rate is low and you can do the entire 30 seconds without stress. But since you only recover for 90 seconds your heart rate gradually continues to climb after every repetition, so hopefully by the time you finish your last repetition it is at or above your maximum heart rate.

Remember to cool down for a few minutes after your 8th repetition.

Unless you work out regularly you will likely need to slowly work your way up to 8 cycles. You can start with 2-4 and gradually increase to 8, but ideally, you should get to 8 cycles. The magic really starts to happen around repetition number 7 and 8. If you have a history of heart disease or any concern please get clearance from your health care professional to start this. Most people of average fitness will be able to do it though; it is only a matter of how much time it will take you to build up to the full 8 reps.

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