Is faster better? How short, intense workouts can help you lose weight quickly
07/06/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

Do you feel like your exercise routine isn’t helping you lose weight? Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training. These two short, intense exercises can help you lose weight faster than continuous moderate exercises, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

For the study, researchers from the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil analyzed previous studies that compared the effects of intense interval training with continuous moderate-intensity exercise over at least four weeks’ time. They used data from 41 studies involving 1,115 people combined for thematic analysis and the results from 36 studies involving 1,012 people.

Interval training is exercise done in alternating short bursts of intense activity, interspersed with short recovery periods. In the study, they classified interval training into two: (1) HIIT, which includes various exercises; and (2) sprint interval training, which includes cycling, running, jogging, and speed walking. The most widely used HIIT routine included four minutes of high-intensity workout followed by three minutes of recovery. For sprints, the most used is alternating four minutes of jogging with 30 seconds of all-out sprint.

Both interval training and continuous moderate exercise reduced overall weight and body fat of the participants over four weeks, regardless of gender or starting weight. However, researchers found that interval training caused 28 percent more weight loss, with sprint interval training being the most effective and efficient way to lose weight quickly. (Related: Just a few minutes of high-intensity exercise offers the same benefits as longer workout sessions.)


The researchers also emphasized the importance of consulting a health expert first before beginning interval training to avoid injuries and cardiovascular stress.

"It is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher intensity training," the researchers wrote. "For example, it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress. Adherence should also be examined as higher intensity protocols can result in higher discomfort."

More ways to achieve your weight loss goals

Losing weight is not just about exercising. You also need to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. Here are other things that you can do to shed those extra pounds:

  • Eat mindfully: Pay attention to how, when and even where you eat your food. Mindful eating can enable you to enjoy your food and maintain a healthy weight. Mindful eating techniques include sitting down to eat, avoiding distractions while eating, eating slowly, and making healthy food choices.
  • Eat protein for breakfast: Protein can help you feel full by regulating your appetite, which helps you reduce your food intake. Eggs, oats, nuts, seeds, quinoa, sardines, and chia seeds are some protein-rich foods you can eat for breakfast.
  • Reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake: Added sugars and refined carbohydrates contribute to weight gain. Choose whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta over the white versions; fruits, nuts, and seeds over sugary snacks; herbal teas and fruit-infused water over sodas; and smoothies with water or milk over fruit juice.
  • Eat more fiber: Adding fiber-rich foods to your diet can make you feel full, potentially leading to weight loss. Start incorporating fiber-rich foods into your diet like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, peas, beans, pulses, nuts, and seeds.
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep contributes to weight gain because it slows down metabolism, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body stores unused energy as fat. Additionally, poor sleep can increase insulin and cortisol production, which also contribute to fat storage. Sleep also affects the regulation of leptin and ghrelin, which are appetite-controlling hormones.
  • Manage your stress: Stress triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol hormones, which initially reduce appetite as part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. However, too much stress can cause cortisol to stay in the bloodstream for long periods, which can increase your appetite and potentially cause you to eat more, leading to weight gain.

Read up on more natural ways to achieve your ideal weight at

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