One of the pitfalls of an active lifestyle can be an insatiable appetite. Go to spin class for 90 minutes and later you’re so darn hungry, you’ll find yourself gorging on a full breakfast (eggs benny with a pancake on the side, please!) to recoup. The cycle of working out and subsequent binging gets repeated again and again. Aside from being irritating, this pattern can pose a challenge to weight loss and wellness goals. But there’s some good news for those looking to lose weight and stay fit.
Research suggests that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) reduces appetite (via WellandGoodNYC.com). A small study by researchers at the University of Western Australia determined that when a group of overweight men chose to perform 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training versus performing the same amount of moderate intensity exercise, they consumed fewer calories. And it wasn’t because they were showing an excess of discipline when it came to eating. They were simply less hungry after doing HIIT training. This effect may be because HIIT exercise reduces the amount of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. It also increases levels of blood lactate and blood glucose, which squash short-term appetite.
The HIIT workout
It’s pretty straightforward and highly adaptable. The formula is simple: work out hard at your peak intensity for set time intervals (i.e. skip for 60 seconds or perform a bodyweight exercise like squats for 60 seconds or sprint for 60 seconds or walk really fast) and then rest for the same amount of time. Then repeat the pattern of intense physical exertion (basically go as hard as you can) and recovery for anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes or 10 to 15 intervals.
HIIT has other benefits too. Its greatest perk: it’s more time-efficient — you don’t have to do it as often as other exercises to get great results. Kinesiology researchers at McMaster University concluded that people that did HIIT three times a week enjoyed all of the same health and wellness benefits of those that chose to perform 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week.