HIIT May Be the Key to Losing Belly Fat and Building Lean Muscle

HIIT May Be the Key to Dropping Belly Fat and Building Lean Muscle
Thomas Barwick / Getty

Many athletes and bodybuilders swear by
high-intensity interval training
(HIIT) for building lean
muscle and
dropping body fat
, and they may be on to something, according
to new
research from the Mayo Clinic
. In a recent study, cardiac
rehabilitation patients who stuck to a HIIT regimen lost more
abdominal fat, lost more, overall body fat, and gained more muscle
mass than those who did moderate-intensity, steady-state
training. 

Researchers had 120 patients do moderate-intensity training for
one week, then 90 of them switched to 20-minute HIIT workouts for
the remainder of the 12-week study. The HIIT group’s workouts
consisted of four to eight, one-minute high-intensity intervals
with three to five minutes of rest in-between, while the
steady-state group did 30 minutes of moderate exercise per session.
Over the course of the study, both groups did three sessions per
week.

Both the HIIT and steady-state groups included patients with an
average age of 67, and the groups were similar in terms of gender,
BMI, medications, and illnesses. At the end of the study, patients
on the HIIT regimen had lost an average of nearly four more pounds
of body fat than those doing moderate-intensity workouts. The HITT
subject also gained one and a half pounds more lean muscle and
dropped about an additional inch from their waistlines. There
wasn’t a significant difference in weight lost or BMI, but we
don’t need to tell you that the
numbers on the scale
and
BMI measurements
aren’t everything. 

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You may be thrilled to hear that HIIT could be the more
efficient way to drop stubborn belly fat and gain lean muscle
before summer, but these latest findings also hold significance for
heart attack patients  those at risk of a heart attack. Carrying
more body fat—abdominal fat, in particular—is associated with a
higher risk of developing heart problems,
according to the study
.  

“A considerable amount of research on HIIT has been done in
athletes to demonstrate its ability to improve total exercise
capacity and sports performance,” said lead study author Yaoshan
Dun, MD, PhD, a cardiac rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic
and Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in Changsha,
China, in the release. “Scientists and clinicians are just
beginning to recognize the power that HIIT may have in clinical
populations to prevent a second heart attack in patients who’ve
already had one.”

When it comes down to it, any form of exercise is better than
none at all. But whether you’re an athlete looking to take your
fitness level up a notch or you just want to improve your
cardiovascular health, you may want to consider sprinkling a few
HIIT workouts into your routine. 

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Source: FS – All – Fitness – News
HIIT May Be the Key to Losing Belly Fat and Building Lean Muscle