Exercise For Just 20 Seconds?

People keep asking me “Tabata What?”
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Practically every new exercise program these days is using some form of High Intensity Interval Training. The reason for this is because of a study you’ve probably heard of called the Tabata study.

This study showed that people who exercised for 4 minutes using 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest were able to get better results then people who exercised for 60 minutes!
Sadly, most trainers get it WRONG!

Carb Cycling – Be Prepared for Bloat!

Carb Cycling Notes
This one’s for Yas and Others that feel bloated after their cheat day!

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If you’ve been reading a variety of the fat-loss diet literature that’s available, you’ve very likely come across a technique called ‘carb cycling.’ Essentially carb cycling is a program where you mix higher carbohydrate days with lower carbohydrate days in the effort to lose weight without suffering some of the negative consequences of a pure low carbohydrate diet plan.

Some of these negative side effects include a drop in exercise performance, increased hunger and craving levels, lowered metabolic rate, and difficulty focusing and concentrating at work.

By having those higher carbohydrate days back in there, you offset some of these factors, so generally most people find this approach much more enjoyable to use. Before you hop onto the carb cycling diet program though, there are a few key facts that you must keep in mind and remember. Here’s what to know.

1 / High Carb Days Should Be Placed On Your Heavy Training Days
The very first thing you must know as you go about designing this type of diet program is that in order to see best results, you should be putting your highest carbohydrate diets on the days you perform your hardest workout sessions. For most people, this will mean leg day (or if you’re using a full body workout, it may mean going high carb on all three of those days).

The reason for doing this is simple – your body needs carbohydrates the most on these days. Having them before you do the workout will help fuel your workout so you can work harder and push more weight, and then having an influx of carbohydrates after the workout session will help saturate your muscles with stored carbohydrate (muscle glycogen) and aid recovery.

To ensure these carbs are put to best use and have the least likely chance of turning into body fat, this means timing them correctly throughout your week.

2 / Expect To Experience Some Water Weight Gain.
You must understand, and be prepared that you are likely to experience some water weight gain when doing the higher carbohydrate day. For every gram of carbohydrate you take into the body, you’ll store four grams of water with this. If you’re eating 200-300 grams of carbohydrates on those high carb days, about 1kg of bloats, water weight.

Those who are leaner, that’s you Y, tend to experience this effect the greatest because at that point, any water weight gain is highly noticeable. Try not to let yourself get too alarmed over this. It’s a normal process and is not fat gain. Within a day back on your regular low-carbohydrate plan you should notice this recede.

If you’re someone who really struggles psychologically with weight fluctuations (and how you appear in the mirror), this very well could mean carbohydrate cycling is not for you. It is a side effect of this type of plan, and therefore something for which you must absolutely prepare yourself.

I think, if you are lean – less than 10lbs to lose, try this method to cycle carbohydrates. It might be the way to drop the last few body fat % points.

Eat Clean. Train Smart. Expect Results

Jax

9/10 – Top Reason to Drop Cardio for HIIT.

9/10. Build Muscle While Losing Fat

Many people think you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. While it can be difficult to put on a large amount of muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, you can adjust your food choices to increase your body composition changes.

In fact, a 12 week HIIT program has been shown to increase lean body mass, while at the same time reducing total body fat, abdominal and trunk fat, and visceral fat [14].

The additional muscle will pay dividends by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that you’re burning extra calories at all times of the day and night.

Building muscle and losing fat, all while exercising for less time?

Seems too good to be true, but it is possible if you Train Smart and Eat Clean.

Like this post? Follow this blog and never miss another!

Thanks. Jax

Reference Study [14]
Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 480467, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/480467
Research Article
The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males
M. Heydari,1 J. Freund,2 and S. H. Boutcher1
1School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Sydney, Australia

Received 4 January 2012; Revised 9 March 2012; Accepted 6 April 2012

Academic Editor: Giorgios P. Nassis

Copyright © 2012 M. Heydari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract
To determine the effect of a 12-week high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) intervention on total body, abdominal, trunk, visceral fat mass, and fat free mass of young overweight males. Participants were randomly assigned to either exercise or control group. The intervention group received HIIE three times per week, 20 min per session, for 12 weeks.

RESULTS
Aerobic power improved significantly (< 0 . 0 0 1) by 15% for the exercising group.
Exercisers compared to controls experienced significant weight loss of 1.5 kg (< 0 . 0 0 5) and a significant reduction in total fat mass of 2 kg (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Abdominal and trunk adiposity was also significantly reduced in the exercising group by 0.1 kg (< 0 . 0 5) and 1.5 kg (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Also the exercise group had a significant (< 0 . 0 1) 17% reduction in visceral fat after 12 weeks of HIIE, whereas waist circumference was significantly decreased by week six (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Fat free mass was significantly increased ( 0 . 0 5) occurred in levels of insulin, HOMA-IR, and blood lipids.
Twelve weeks of HIIE resulted in significant reductions in total, abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat and significant increases in fat free mass and aerobic power.

9/10 – Top Reason to Drop Cardio for HIIT.

9/10. Build Muscle While Losing Fat

Many people think you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. While it can be difficult to put on a large amount of muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, you can adjust your food choices to increase your body composition changes.

In fact, a 12 week HIIT program has been shown to increase lean body mass, while at the same time reducing total body fat, abdominal and trunk fat, and visceral fat [14].

The additional muscle will pay dividends by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that you’re burning extra calories at all times of the day and night.

Building muscle and losing fat, all while exercising for less time?

Seems too good to be true, but it is possible if you Train Smart and Eat Clean.

Like this post? Follow this blog and never miss another!

Thanks. Jax

Reference Study [14]
Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 480467, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/480467
Research Article
The Effect of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise on Body Composition of Overweight Young Males
M. Heydari,1 J. Freund,2 and S. H. Boutcher1
1School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Sydney, Australia

Received 4 January 2012; Revised 9 March 2012; Accepted 6 April 2012

Academic Editor: Giorgios P. Nassis

Copyright © 2012 M. Heydari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract
To determine the effect of a 12-week high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) intervention on total body, abdominal, trunk, visceral fat mass, and fat free mass of young overweight males. Participants were randomly assigned to either exercise or control group. The intervention group received HIIE three times per week, 20 min per session, for 12 weeks.

RESULTS
Aerobic power improved significantly (< 0 . 0 0 1) by 15% for the exercising group.
Exercisers compared to controls experienced significant weight loss of 1.5 kg (< 0 . 0 0 5) and a significant reduction in total fat mass of 2 kg (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Abdominal and trunk adiposity was also significantly reduced in the exercising group by 0.1 kg (< 0 . 0 5) and 1.5 kg (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Also the exercise group had a significant (< 0 . 0 1) 17% reduction in visceral fat after 12 weeks of HIIE, whereas waist circumference was significantly decreased by week six (< 0 . 0 0 1).
Fat free mass was significantly increased ( 0 . 0 5) occurred in levels of insulin, HOMA-IR, and blood lipids.
Twelve weeks of HIIE resulted in significant reductions in total, abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat and significant increases in fat free mass and aerobic power.

8/10 – Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

8/10. Burns 9X More Total Fat Than Endurance Training

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Did you know you can burn more fat doing HIIT than your typical steady-state endurance training, even though burning a fraction of the calories?

It’s true. This is where the con of a ‘fat burning zones’ rises it’s ugly head! You see if we just counted used calories while exercising no- one would ever do weight or resistance training! The important thing to understand is that cardio calories are only burnt while you continue, your burn rate drops back to normal as soon as you step off your treadmill. However, if you spend time pushing yourself your burn rate will continue for hours and hours after your training ends.

A study comparing a 15 week HIIT program to a 20 week endurance-training (ET) program showed that despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in body fat compared with the ET program.

When the scientists adjusted the numbers so the calorie burn was equal, the decrease in the sum of six skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was nine times greater than by the Endurance training program [13].

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Thanks Jax

Reference Study [13]

Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism
Angelo Tremblay, Jean-Aimé Simoneau, Claude Bouchard
Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.

Abstract
The impact of two different modes of training on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism was investigated in young adults who were subjected to either a 20-week endurance-training (ET) program (eight men and nine women) or a 15-week high-intensity intermittent-training (HIIT) program (five men and five women). The mean estimated total energy cost of the ET program was 120.4 MJ, whereas the corresponding value for the HIIT program was 57.9 MJ. Despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous adiposity compared with the ET program. When corrected for the energy cost of training, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the ET program. Muscle biopsies obtained in the vastus lateralis before and after training showed that both training programs increased similarly the level of the citric acid cycle enzymatic marker. On the other hand, the activity of muscle glycolytic enzymes was increased by the HIIT program, whereas a decrease was observed following the ET program. The enhancing effect of training on muscle 3-hydroxyacyl coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HADH) enzyme activity, a marker of the activity of β-oxidation, was significantly greater after the HIIT program.
In conclusion, these results reinforce the notion that for a given level of energy expenditure, vigorous exercise favours negative energy and lipid balance to a greater extent than exercise of low to moderate intensity. Moreover, the metabolic adaptations taking place in the skeletal muscle in response to the HIIT program appear to favour the process of lipid oxidation (fat usage).

6/10 Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

6/10 Boosts Favorable Hormones

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High-intensity interval training does more than just burn calories.
It primes your body for fat loss by creating a favourable metabolic environment. Internally, your body undergoes many hormone changes in response to intense training.
Specifically, HIIT boosts growth hormone and testosterone levels after just 10 minutes, and the amount secreted is correlated to your exercise intensity [10] [11] [12].

Growth hormone and testosterone are a potent combo for both fat loss and muscle growth.
Engaging in HIIT will provide you with this amazing benefit which appears to give magical results.

One of my clients, Sandra, was getting a little despondent when after 3 weeks of careful eating and metabolic training sessions at 6:30 am three times a week she hadn’t seen any change in her scale weight.
I’d seen a terrific increase in her fitness level and changes in her body shape, but she couldn’t see it.
I remember her glee when she told me that while walking along a corridor at work the weight of her radio almost pulled her trousers off!
She was ecstatic !! Her body had changed so much she could get her trousers off without undoing the button or zip. She had dropped pounds of fat and built pounds of muscle – so her weight hadn’t really changed but she has reduced 2 dress sizes in about 3 weeks.

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Thanks Jax.

Reference Study [10]
Home |1992 Archive |July 1992 |Felsing et al. 75 (1): 157
Effect of low and high intensity exercise on circulating growth hormone in men.
N E Felsing, J A Brasel and D M Cooper
– Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance 90509.
Abstract

We hypothesized that circulating GH (growth hormone) would increase only if a threshold of work intensity [corresponding to the anaerobic or lactate threshold (LT)] was exceeded. Ten healthy male volunteers (18-35 yr) first performed ramp-type progressive cycle-ergometer exercise to determine the LT and the maximal oxygen uptake. On subsequent mornings after an overnight fast, each subject performed bouts of 1, 5, and 10 min constant work rate exercise of either high intensity (above LT) or low intensity (below LT). A 1-h interval separated exercise bouts. Gas exchange (breath-by-breath), GH, immunoreactive insulin, glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and epinephrine and norepinephrine were measured at regular intervals.
After the 10-min bouts of high compared with low intensity exercise, lactate was 7.2 +/- 3.7 mmol/L vs. 1.4 +/- 1.3, P less than 0.05; epinephrine was 1,113 +/- 519 pmol/L vs. 496 +/- 273, P less than 0.05; and norepinephrine was 7.89 +/- 3.45 nmole/L vs. 2.83 +/- 1.34, P less than 0.05.
GH did not increase significantly from preexercise baseline during low intensity exercise (e.g., GH after 10-min low intensity exercise changed from baseline values by 1.5 +/- 2.0 micrograms/L, NS).
Although lactate was elevated after 5-min of high intensity exercise, peak GH was significantly elevated (mean increase above baseline of 7.7 +/- 2.4 micrograms/L, P less than 0.05) only after 10 min of high intensity exercise (increases in 9 of 10 subjects).

The GH increase occurred despite simultaneous increases in both IRI and glucose.

A minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise consistently increased circulating GH in adult males.

5/10 Top Reasons to Swap Cardio for Smart HIIT

5/10 Creation of New Mitochondria

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Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses that produce energy (ATP). In simple terms, they take the fat and carbohydrates you either eat or store and convert them to usable energy. The more mitochondria you have, the more efficiently your body utilizes the calories you consume.

The number of mitochondria you have can be increased by creating a demand for more energy production. In fact, HIIT is a potent stimulus for the creation of new mitochondria

Developing more mitochondria will help you produce more energy in your muscle, allow you to train harder for longer and so burn more calories. A win win situation when you train smart!

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Thanks Jax

Reference [7]
You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms

Jonathan P. Little1, Adeel Safdar1,2, Geoffrey P. Wilkin1, Mark A. Tarnopolsky2, Martin J. Gibala1
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743

© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Physiological Society
Issue
The Journal of Physiology
Volume 588, Issue 6, pages 1011–1022, March 2010

Abstract
High-intensity interval training (HIT) induces skeletal muscle metabolic and performance adaptations that resemble traditional endurance training despite a low total exercise volume. Most HIT studies have employed ‘all out’, variable-load exercise interventions (e.g. repeated Wingate tests) that may not be safe, practical and/or well tolerated by certain individuals. Our purpose was to determine the performance, metabolic and molecular adaptations to a more practical model of low-volume HIT. Seven men (21 ± 0.4 years, ml kg−1 min−1) performed six training sessions over 2 weeks. Each session consisted of 8–12 × 60 s intervals at ∼100% of peak power output elicited during a ramp peak test (355 ± 10 W) separated by 75 s of recovery. Training increased exercise capacity, as assessed by significant improvements on both 50 kJ and 750 kJ cycling time trials (P < 0.05 for both). Skeletal muscle (vastus lateralis) biopsy samples obtained before and after training revealed increased maximal activity of citrate synthase (CS) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) as well as total protein content of CS, COX subunits II and IV, and the mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) (P < 0.05 for all). Nuclear abundance of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α) was ∼25% higher after training (P < 0.05), but total PGC-1α protein content remained unchanged. Total SIRT1 content, a proposed activator of PGC-1α and mitochondrial biogenesis, was increased by ∼56% following training (P < 0.05). Training also increased resting muscle glycogen and total GLUT4 protein content (both P < 0.05). This study demonstrates that a practical model of low volume HIT is a potent stimulus for increasing skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity and improving exercise performance. The results also suggest that increases in SIRT1, nuclear PGC-1α, and Tfam may be involved in coordinating mitochondrial adaptations in response to HIT in human skeletal muscle.

Reference Study [8]
Brief intense interval exercise activates AMPK and p38 MAPK signaling and increases the expression of PGC-1α in human skeletal muscle
Martin J. Gibala1, Sean L. McGee2, Andrew P. Garnham3, Kirsten F. Howlett3, Rodney J. Snow3, and Mark Hargreaves2
+ Author Affiliations

1Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; 2Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria; and 3School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: M. Gibala, Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster Univ., 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1 (e-mail: gibalam@mcmaster.ca)
Submitted 8 July 2008. Accepted in final form 20 December 2008.
Abstract

From a cell signaling perspective, short-duration intense muscular work is typically associated with resistance training and linked to pathways that stimulate growth. However, brief repeated sessions of sprint or high-intensity interval exercise induce rapid phenotypic changes that resemble traditional endurance training. We tested the hypothesis that an acute session of intense intermittent cycle exercise would activate signaling cascades linked to mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle. Biopsies (vastus lateralis) were obtained from six young men who performed four 30-s “all out” exercise bouts interspersed with 4 min of rest (<80 kJ total work). Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK; subunits α1 and α2) and the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) was higher (P ≤ 0.05) immediately after bout 4 vs. preexercise. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) mRNA was increased approximately twofold above rest after 3 h of recovery (P ≤ 0.05); however, PGC-1α protein content was unchanged. In contrast, phosphorylation of protein kinase B/Akt (Thr308 and Ser473) tended to decrease, and downstream targets linked to hypertrophy (p70 ribosomal S6 kinase and 4E binding protein 1) were unchanged after exercise and recovery. We conclude that signaling through AMPK and p38 MAPK to PGC-1α may explain in part the metabolic remodeling induced by low-volume intense interval exercise, including mitochondrial biogenesis and an increased capacity for glucose and fatty acid oxidation.

Reference Study [9]
An acute bout of high-intensity interval training increases the nuclear abundance of PGC-1α and activates mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle

Jonathan P. Little , Adeel Safdar , David Bishop , Mark A. Tarnopolsky , Martin J. Gibala
American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative PhysiologyPublished 1 June 2011Vol. 300no. R1303-R1310DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00538.2010)

4/10 Top Reasons to Drop Cardio for HIIT

4/10 Improved Vo2 Max

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VO2 max is your body’s max capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It is a great measure of physical fitness.
Generally speaking, the higher your VO2 max, the better your fitness level. A higher VO2 max also means that you can exercise at greater intensities for longer periods of time.
The good news is that doing HIIT will result in significant improvements in VO2 max [4]

This improvement can be achieved whether you are a beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete.

I have keen runners (not joggers) that were worried that if they swapped their daily miles for Smart HIIT with me their speed would drop off – they have found they are able to run less often – saving their joints – and still improve performance in terms of overall speed and distance but sprint finish in races.

They also find that they feel motivated and fresh when they do run! Result.

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Reference Study [4]
J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jan;26(1):138-45. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318218dd77.
Effect of high-intensity interval training on cardiovascular function, VO2max, and muscular force.
Astorino TA, Allen RP, Roberson DW, Jurancich M.
Source
Department of Kinesiology, California State University, San Marcos, California, USA. astorino@csusm.edu
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of short-term high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on cardiovascular function, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular force. Active, young (age and body fat = 25.3 ± 4.5 years and 14.3 ± 6.4%) men and women (N = 20) of a similar age, physical activity, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) completed 6 sessions of HIIT consisting of repeated Wingate tests over a 2- to 3-week period. Subjects completed 4 Wingate tests on days 1 and 2, 5 on days 3 and 4, and 6 on days 5 and 6. A control group of 9 men and women (age and body fat = 22.8 ± 2.8 years and 15.2 ± 6.9%) completed all testing but did not perform HIIT. Changes in resting blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), VO2max, body composition, oxygen (O2) pulse, peak, mean, and minimum power output, fatigue index, and voluntary force production of the knee flexors and extensors were examined pretraining and posttraining. Results showed significant (p < 0.05) improvements in VO2max, O2 pulse, and Wingate-derived power output with HIIT. The magnitude of improvement in VO2max was related to baseline VO2max (r = -0.44, p = 0.05) and fatigue index (r = 0.50, p 0.05) in resting BP, HR, or force production was revealed. Data show that HIIT significantly enhanced VO2max and O2 pulse and power output in active men and women.
PMID: 22201691 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

3/10 Top Reason to Drop Cardio for HIIT

3/10 Specifically Targets Stomach Fat

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Yes, we all know that you can’t target fat loss per se. However, that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Doing situps isn’t going to target belly fat. However, there are things you can do that will change the way you store and mobilize fat. The way you store fat is determined by many factors – genetics and hormones being two big ones. The type of exercise you do affects your hormone profile.

Doing HIIT can create a metabolic environment that stimulates a higher proportional release of abdominal fat. You still lose fat all over, but a higher proportion comes off in the midsection.

High-intensity interval exercise three times per week for 15 weeks was compared to the same frequency of steady-state exercise, and only HIIT produced significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and insulin resistance [3].

Add to this clever changes to your food choices and you will set yourself up for great losses in belly fat. While abdominal exercises won’t burn fat off your belly – avoiding certain foods and adding others can and will make a big difference to your body shape.

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2/10 Top Reasons to Dump Cardio for HIIT Training.

2/10 Produces the Afterburn Effect

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Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the increased oxygen your body uses after an intense workout to erase its oxygen debt. It uses this oxygen to return the body to homeostasis. That means it uses additional calories to perform tasks such as muscle repair and replenishment of fuel stores. EPOC is better known as the afterburn effect, which is the process of burning extra calories long after your workout is over.

When comparing HIIT to low-intensity exercise (cardio), your exercise intensity positively affects both the magnitude and duration of EPOC [2]. In other words, the greater your intensity, the greater the afterburn effect.

Wouldn’t you rather burn X9 times more fat doing just 20 – 30 mins HIIT than grinding away for hours running, rowing or stepping, think of your poor joints!, and the fun you could be having with the time saved!!

Only 30 minutes of a Smart HIIT session will keep your metabolism boosted for up to 38hrs (that’s when the studies stopped recording- it will go on even longer!)
Just make sure you’re getting truly effective, metabolic HIIT and not just random circuit training – they are NOT the same thing.

I’ve seen and heard about some sketchy sessions with trainers that need to update their knowledge and do better fir their clients. Mine know I’m always studying the latest studies and updating my certifications – that’s why I offer a 200% money back guarantee – does your trainer do that?

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Look out for my next tip…..
Thanks Jax

Reference Study [1]
Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males
John A Babraj1†, Niels BJ Vollaard1†, Cameron Keast1, Fergus M Guppy1, Greg Cottrell1 and James A Timmons12*

* Corresponding author: James A Timmons jamie.timmons@gmail.com

† Equal contributors
Author Affiliations
1 Translational Biomedicine, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2 The Wenner-Gren Institute, Arrhenius Laboratories, Stockholm University, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009, 9:3 doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-3

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/9/3

Received: 10 September 2008
Accepted: 28 January 2009
Published: 28 January 2009
© 2009 Babraj et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract
Background
Traditional high volume aerobic exercise training reduces cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk but involves a substantial time commitment. Extremely low volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) has recently been demonstrated to produce improvements to aerobic function, but it is unknown whether HIT has the capacity to improve insulin action and hence glycemic control.

Methods
Sixteen young men (age: 21 ± 2 y; BMI: 23.7 ± 3.1 kg·m-2; VO2peak: 48 ± 9 ml·kg-1·min-1) performed 2 weeks of supervised HIT comprising of a total of 15 min of exercise (6 sessions; 4–6 × 30-s cycle sprints per session). Aerobic performance (250-kJ self-paced cycling time trial), and glucose, insulin and NEFA responses to a 75-g oral glucose load (oral glucose tolerance test; OGTT) were determined before and after training.

Results
Following 2 weeks of HIT, the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26% respectively, all P < 0.001). Fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations remained unchanged, but there was a tendency for reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations post-training (pre: 350 ± 36 v post: 290 ± 39 μmol·l-1, P = 0.058). Insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, was improved by 23% (P < 0.01), while aerobic cycling performance improved by ~6% (P < 0.01).

Conclusion
The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable. This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.