HIIT Builds Lean Muscle Mass

By James Penny

It would appear that each and every day our social feeds are being clogged up with different opinions on exercise and what does and does not work. Whether your goal is gaining muscle or losing weight, it can be very difficult to decipher what is actually the right thing to do. In addition, many of us simply don’t have the time to follow some these suggested Programs making it even more frustrating.

Thankfully we find a solution in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

HIIT is fast, functional and deeply profound.

Unlike traditional steady state cardio (running, swimming, riding) HIIT works by targeting both our aerobic and anaerobic systems simultaneously, encouraging the retention of lean muscle mass, whilst also developing our cardiovascular systems.

Not only that, its higher intensity nature increases our body’s oxygen utilisation, which extends well beyond the end of the session, resulting in more calories burnt over a longer duration of time – more commonly referred to as EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

One study published in 2018, through the US National library of medicine found that even a single 30 second bout of maximal exercise on a treadmill increased growth hormone concentrations by 10-fold above baseline exercise. In addition, seven 60 second rounds of intermittent cycling (at high intensity) significantly elevated growth hormone concentrations when compared with continuous cycling over a 20 minute period (at a lower intensity). 

The takeaway – HIIT works.

From the boost in HGH (human growth hormone), the extended caloric burn, and the development of our cardiovascular system, it really acts to cover all bases when it comes to overall health and fitness.

Prime examples include the Cross-fit Games and the athletes that compete at them. Nearly every workout is completed in either a 10 or 20 minute time cap. Obviously the strength components can vary, but the physiological target of metabolic conditioning remains the same.

There is no denying that operating at 75-85% of our maximum heart rate can be uncomfortable, but by exposing ourselves to this state more often we give ourselves the stimulus to prompt profoundly effective physiological adaptations.

It’s a time-poor world, and sometimes days disappear. But if there’s one form of exercise to get the most bang for your buck, it’s HIIT

James Penny

James Penny is one of our Lead Personal Trainers at TRL FIT.