By Matt Evans
If you're just starting your weight loss journey, you might not have followed a structured exercise programme in a while, and you could be wondering which kind of exercise is right for you. Should you take up running, or lifting weights? Maybe roller-blading?
Of course, you should go for the exercises you enjoy the most - that's a given. But if you're specifically looking to lose weight, there's lots of evidence suggesting HIIT workouts (which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training) are the most efficient way to exercise for fat loss.
One of the main ways HIIT appeals to people is that they're done in an extremely short amount of time. If long runs sound too much like a chore for you, you can burn the same amount of calories in a much shorter amount of time by following simple HIIT exercises like burpees, push-ups and sprints.
This is why they're considered to be so efficient: you're working a lot harder in a much shorter amount of time than "traditional" cardio workouts like cycling and running.
Why are HIIT workouts great for fat loss?
For one, High Intensity Interval Training has been found by scientists to be more efficient than moderate-intensity exercise when it comes to maximising health outcomes, suggesting "a growing body of evidence suggests that higher exercise intensities may be superior to moderate intensity". This includes improving cardiovascular fitness, maintaining muscle mass and, yes, losing weight.
Another study, published in the Journal of Obesity, looked at HIIT's role in fat loss, indicating that "it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise".
It's very unusual to be able to specifically torch certain areas of fat on the body, but HIIT is great for all-over body fat loss - so if you specifically measuring abdominal fat, you'll see a reduction there as well as all over. But it just goes to show HIIT exercises are perfect if you're looking how to get a slim waist.
How to start doing HIIT workouts
There's a selection of great workouts you can do to get started: for example, you could begin our four-week HIIT shape-up plan, following those workouts to slowly build up your cardiovascular health and fitness. Alternatively, you could follow along to one of any number of workouts on the best online personal trainer and fitness apps, from Joe Wicks to Kayla Itsines.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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