Miracle Weight-Loss Combo: HIIT and Intermittent Fasting
If you’re trying to lose weight, there’s no overlooking diet and exercise. The advice around which of these two factors is more important varies widely depending on who you’re speaking to. Many so-called experts will espouse the benefits of exercise over eating, whilst others will swear black and blue that what you’re eating is far more important than exercising. The truth of the matter is, both exercise and diet are important. But which diet and which exercise plans are most effective when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off?
Intermittent fasting and HIIT (high intensity interval training) are a winning combination when it comes to weight loss and overall improved health, as many studies have shown. These relatively new methods have been taking the diet and exercise industry by storm and are even being recommended by some of the most highly respected experts in the business.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting could be perceived at first as a diet centred around reduced calorie intake, just like most diets you’ve tried before. However, unlike many other diets, the key to intermittent fasting is reducing your calories substantially over a short period of time. This is what sets intermittent fasting apart from, say, VLCDs or ‘very low-calorie diets’, which can be hugely restrictive and rely on an ongoing dedication to very low-calorie intake to maintain results, and this is impossible to maintain long-term, which often leads to a lot of yo-yo-dieting!
Intermittent fasting has been shown to be far more effective for weight loss, not only over the short term, but over the longer term too! In fact, intermittent fasting has also been shown to be one of the fastest ways to shed excess weight, but research shows it also has huge health benefits.
What does an intermittent fasting diet look like?
Unlike many other restrictive and unrealistic diets, intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle eating plan than a diet. It can be adapted to suit your lifestyle and become a long-term way of life. A typical intermittent fasting diet will involve ‘fasting days’ where very few calories are consumed for a selected few days of the week, and ‘regular days’ where your normal intake of calories can be consumed.. This way of eating is much more likely to be effective over the long term, as it means you can still enjoy dining out with friends on the weekends, having those treats you enjoy (within moderation, of course) and living the lifestyle you’re used to, which is why it is more sustainable.
Depending on your situation, your intermittent fasting diet might involve 2 ‘fasting days’ per week, a fasting day every other day, or even delaying your breakfasts every day to have 16 hours per day not eating, and all eating is done in an 8 hour window. At Integrated Health Specialists, we can help you to develop an intermittent fasting plan which suits your goals, your lifestyle and your ongoing needs.
What is HIIT?
High intensity interval training, or HIIT is making quite a name for itself in the exercise industry, thanks to its incredible results. HIIT workouts focus on short bursts of high-energy exercises, rather than long, sustained workouts like cardio and strength training. This appeals to many people because the workouts can be done in a very short amount of time – so it’s great for those who consider themselves ‘too busy to work out’ – but also because HIIT has been shown to be the most effective way to reduce body fat-to-muscle ratio.
Because HIIT involves working out with high-intensity for short periods of time, the benefits after your workout are far greater than other workouts. This is because the body works to restore itself to pre-workout levels, involving a process called EPOC or ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’. After a HIIT workout, your body continues to burn calories for longer after you’re finished.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, just 20 minutes of high intensity training, three times per week, is enough to make an incredible difference to your weight and your muscle-building. You’ll lose between 16 and 25% more calories with HIIT than other workouts, because of that post-workout recovery. This is why at Integrated Health Specialists our experienced Personal Trainer incorporates a lot of HIIT in his fitness sessions with clients.
Why HIIT and intermittent fasting together?
It almost goes without saying that combining the best eating plan with the best exercise plan equals a winning combination for losing weight, feeling healthy, and keeping fit over the long term. However, the incredible benefits of combining HIIT and intermittent fasting go well beyond their ability to help you lose weight effectively, and they are easy to implement and to maintain compared to many of the highly restrictive and time consuming options out there.
As we’ve discussed in our blog articles many times, the key to losing weight is finding a plan for diet and exercise that fit into your lifestyle. Committing yourself to an unrealistic diet or exercise regime will only end in failure, as it’s too difficult to maintain. HIIT and intermittent fasting are not only extremely effective ways to improve your health, get fit and lose weight, they’re also among the easiest to incorporate into a busy lifestyle; meaning that they’re easy to get started with, and easy to maintain over the long-term.
Studies suggest that between 80 and 95% of those who lose weight with a diet or exercise plan will end up putting the weight back on (and then some) within a matter of weeks or months. With HIIT and intermittent fasting, you’ll ensure that you lose the weight you’re hoping to lose, feel great inside and out, and keep it off for good!