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Interval Training For Fat Loss

This article will discuss the best type of cardio for fat loss.

Understanding the FITT principle

It’s pretty safe to say, and most people acknowledge that doing cardio helps burn fat. Cardio can be done on different modalities such a running outside, swimming, or using a Stairmaster. It can be done with varying intensities such as a full effort 20-meter sprint or a steady pace 3-hour hike in the mountains. Finally, cardio can be done for varying amounts of time. These are the ideas behind the FITT principle of exercise. The FITT principle is an acronym for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.

  • Frequency: How Often
  • Intensity: How Hard
  • Time: How Long
  • Type: How will it be done

The FITT principle gives us the variables we can manipulate in order to achieve our desired results.

How the body responds to exercise

Our bodies strive to maintain balance, or homeostasis, in all systems. For example, when you are hot, your body attempts to cool off by causing you to sweat. As you begin to exercise, there is a greater demand for blood and oxygen to be delivered to working muscles so your heart rate and breathing rate increases. The first 5­10 minutes of any cardio session is difficult because you have placed an immediate increased demand on the body but the heart and lungs have not had a chance to catch up. This ‘warm up’ has put your body in oxygen deficit. After the end of an exercise session, the body continues to work to bring all systems back to normal. This phenomenon is often experienced after a hard training session has stopped yet your body is still hot and therefore you continue to sweat. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, is the term used to describe the body’s effort to reach homeostasis after this workout session.

The greater the disruption of balance caused during an exercise session, the greater EPOC required to bring balance back to the body. During this time, the body not only consumes more oxygen, but it is also burning more calories. More calories burned equals more fat loss!

Interval Training

Exercising in a steady-state, such as jogging at a moderate pace for 25 minutes does not create the same amount of “disruption” in the body as interval type training. We now know that greater disruption leads to greater EPOC which leads to more calories burned and more fat loss.

Using FITT

Training at higher intensity burns more calories. Training using intervals create more disruption in the body and thus burns more calories. Combine these theories to create a high intensity, interval training for the best fat loss results.


Cycle your cardio training program using the FITT principle.


  • Change your frequency from 2­5 days per week. Be careful with having too high of a frequency with high intensity as this can lead to injury.
  • Intensity: Varying levels of intensity are key. Warm-up at low/moderate intensity, then move between periods of high intensity (20­60 seconds) followed by periods of low intensity (30­120 seconds).
  • Time: This type of training will allow you to see max results in less time. Include a 5­10 minute warm-up and a 5-minute cooldown in each session. The total session length can range from 20 to 45 minutes.
  • Type: Change the way you do your cardio often. Use a rowing machine, exercise bike, swim, run outdoors or on a treadmill.


Sample Workout

Warm-up 6 minutes done as 3-minute fast walking, 3 minutes light jog.

10 minutes done as 1-minute jog, 1-minute hard run.

Light jog for 2 minutes.

10 minutes done as 1-minute jog, 30 seconds hard run.

Walk 2 minutes to cool down.

Tabata Method

The Tabata Method consists of 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest continually for 20 minutes. As with any other intense interval training, it is important to warm up first. You can use exercises traditionally done in a weight lifting routine using the Tabata Method. You can choose one exercise (for example, medicine ball slams) for the entire time or set up a circuit. For a circuit use lightweight and keep all of your equipment together as you will be moving quickly. Set up a timer to ring at 20 seconds and 10 seconds. After the first exercise, rest 10 seconds, then perform the next exercise. Try this sample fat blast circuit. Deadlifts, Bodyweight Squats, PushUps, Kettlebell Swings

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