FACT or FICTION: HIIT Workouts After-burn

30 Minute HIIT workout burns as much as a 60 Minute Workout

Lately all the talk is about these short 20 to 30 Minute High Intensity Interval (HIIT) workouts and their after-burn effect. Everyone’s thinking, “Sweet, I can burn just as many calories in 30 as I can 60. This is awesome!” So, let’s find out if this common theory is fact or fiction.

Fitness trends tend to change year after year. Long workouts could be the talk of the year and then all of a sudden it’s all about a 30 minute HIIT craze. Many believe that short bursts of high-intensity interval training are more effective than an hour of less strenuous exertion, but fitness experts and Studio SWEAT onDemand trainers, Cat Kom and Brian, are here to weigh in on this subject, which really just comes down to some simple math.

Cat and Brian started by looking at the number of calories that someone might burn on average in a 30 minute higher intensity workout (ex. heart rates might go between 70% and up to 95% max heart rate) alongside how many the same person might burn in an hour-long moderate to high intensity (heart rates between 70% and 89% MHR) workout. They included the warm-up, actual workout, and “EPOC” in order to conclude which workout burned more. You see this EPOC thing is the reason some experts are touting the killer after-burn benefits of HIIT workouts.

So, let’s talk briefly about EPOC and see how much credit it should get when it comes to overall calorie burn. To start, I’ll tell you what it is.

EPOC stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, which is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal resting level after an intense training. 6-15% of the total calorie burn is what you should expect from your EPOC. Yeah, I’m with ya, that’s not as much as those promoting the shorter workouts make it seem now is it. Truth.

Watch the video to see how the math is broken down and what assumptions were made, but what you’re gonna learn is that the 60-minute workout did have a much larger calorie burn than the 30 minute high intensity workout, therefore, the answer to whether or not you can burn as much in a 30 minute workout as you can in a 60 minute workout, especially if you’re truly doing your best to compare apples to apples, is FICTION! As a matter of fact, if you based it on 4 workouts per week you’d actually burn the equivalent of about 15 more pounds worth of calories over a year’s time. WOE!

But listen, as Cat always says, “The best workout is the one that you’ll do.” So, if a 30-minute workout is all that you can squeeze into your day, then do it and be proud! There are so many benefits to stoking your muscles, firing up your lungs, and just breaking a sweat in general, whether it’s for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or a full hour. There are often days where Cat doesn’t get in all 60 minutes, but when she does, you better believe it’s a much higher burn than on her shorter workout days. It’s just simple math.

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