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HIIT for Weight Cutting
- Updated: February 28, 2017
Being an athlete is not easy. It involves discipline and hard work. One of the biggest challenges some athletes face is how they can maintain their weight. For certain sports, not going beyond or lower than the stipulated weight limit is not just an advantage, but also a requirement.
In boxing for instance, those who don’t meet the weight limit during the weigh in will be disqualified from the match, or be penalized. This is why a lot of athletes undergo weight cutting. It is the process in which they speed up the process of losing weight (without losing muscle mass) as the competition approaches. By the time the weigh in is scheduled, they will easily pass.
Before weight cutting, athletes must build sufficient mass first. It is essential to retain strength and power, which is necessary to win the game. There is a mass-gaining period where athletes need to keep building muscles. Obviously, this leads to weight gain. The challenge is on how to lose weight to meet the standards without losing the muscle mass.
HIIT is Effective for Weight Cutting
One of the newer methods to cut weight, other than straight-out calorie restriction – is through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It has proven to be one of the most effective options available, especially when compared to steady-pace cardio. Of course, you need to follow proper workout programs plus proper diet to ensure the best results possible.
According to several studies, HIIT is more effective in delivering great results compared with regular cardio. If you’re doing sprint for instance, the regular exercise using a treadmill will take you 50-60 minutes. Using common HIIT training methods, you only need 4 to 6 cycles of 30-second intense sprints plus 4-minute rest period in between. This will last for about 17-27 minutes only. After comparing the results, researchers at the University of Western Ontario have found out that the HIIT technique is way more effective.
Another advantage of HIIT is that it allows your metabolic rate to increase within 24 hours. HIIT also allows you to continue burning fat while building lean muscle. Growth hormone levels are also elevated, which helps in fat loss.
Preserving the Mass
The problem in doing cardio exercises is that you might lose more muscles. Using the stationary bike for an hour for instance could help you shed off weight, but may also reduce muscle mass along with it due to its aerobic nature. With HIIT, you lose the same amount of weight, but you are far more likely to preserve and build muscle mass due to the high-intensity stimulus that other training methods lack.
Couple your exercises with the right diet, and focus on a protein-based diet to help build more muscle mass. Fatty foods must be removed from your diet as they could impede the achievement of your goals. Don’t throw the carbs out of the window just yet – while you’d want to restrict their intake, you would want to eat enough for proper recovery and muscle maintenance.
If you are interested in giving HIIT a try, you must create an appropriate workout plan first. Match the most effective workout techniques for maximum results. For instance, weightlifting could be paired with sprinting or running. You can integrate gymnastics moves and follow them up with weightlifting as well. The combinations are endless and are definitely not limited to two exercises.
HIIT is also about the speed in which the entire process is done. It is important to move quickly and efficiently while minimizing break times to allow for maximum intensity. In short, there is no need for you to stay in the gym for an hour or two.
Most of all, stick with the plan. If you have a deadline to meet, you can’t be relaxed. Hit the gym as scheduled and follow the entire routine. Avoid going beyond what is scheduled as it could also lead to more weight loss than expected.
The moment you scheduled game arrives, you are in great shape and are ready to take your opponent down.