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A flat stomach can play hard to get for both genders. It’s a soft spot that can be one of the hardest to tone up, but recent research highlights one method that works better than most.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is known to burn serious amounts of fat, seriously fast. But not just any fat. New research shows that specific forms of high-intensity interval training can be key to cutting fat from your tummy.    

The tummy trimming benefits of high-intensity interval training are highlighted in a recently published study into how different approaches to training can affect fitness and body composition in healthy adults1. The study tested two groups of exercisers. One group followed a conventional gym training program four days a week, the other did two conventional gym workouts and two high-intensity interval training-based LES MILLS GRIT™ Cardio workouts a week. Both groups trained for the same total amount of time each week.

At the end of the eight-week study, both groups saw a reduction in total body fat, but it was those doing high-intensity interval training who really took the fat burning up a notch. These individuals eliminated an average of 2.2cm from their waistlines and experienced an overall loss of 2.2% visceral fat – that’s the awful gut fat that clogs up our organs, affects our hormones and increases the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes. They also benefited from a significant increase in cardio-respiratory fitness.

While the results are significant, the length of the workouts was not. Those who incorporated the high-intensity interval training didn’t need to slog it out for hours at the gym – the LES MILLS GRIT sessions they did twice a week were just 30 minutes long.

LES MILLS GRIT workouts are short, but explosive. Combining intervals of speed training with body weight exercises such as squat jumps and lunges, they are designed to maximize calorie burn during the workout, and beyond.

Further research into HIIT and continuous training will be necessary to support the findings of this study.

1 References: Giannaki, C. D., et al. "Eight weeks of a combination of high intensity interval training and conventional training reduce visceral adiposity and improve physical fitness: a group-based intervention." The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness (2015).

More information can be found here.

Les Mills top pic blog 2x


Forget clocking up more time on the treadmill. Research suggests that it’s intensity not volume that gets results – whether you’re an active adult or an athlete, your fitness will fly when you add LES MILLS GRIT into the mix.

There’s no doubt that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) drives amazing results. Several studies, conducted with sedentary adults, provide compelling evidence that HIIT can rapidly build fitness. This study was conducted on fit and active adults instead to better understand the effect of HIIT on this population.

In two separate studies (Christoforos 2015), Dr Jinger Gottschall and a team of researchers at Penn State University have demonstrated that Les Mills’ HIIT programs can transform the fitness of regular exercisers.

The first study compared a group of adults with no significant difference in physiological parameters before the study, who were participating in regular LES MILLS™ group fitness classes for five hours a week, with a group that substituted one of their hour-long cardio classes (such as BODYATTACK™, BODYSTEP™ or RPM™) with two LES MILLS GRIT™ workouts. Those who did LES MILLS GRIT™ showed vast improvements in lean body mass, glucose tolerance and maximal oxygen consumption. There was also a startling reduction in cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The second study followed professional female athletes. A team of soccer players substituted their usual seven hours of off-season training with just four hours and added two LES MILLS GRIT™ workouts. Despite decreasing their training time by two hours per week, the football players saw significant changes in both body composition and fitness levels.

Together these small-scale studies demonstrated that 30 minutes of LES MILLS GRIT twice a week significantly changed their fitness and body composition, lowered the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and helped participants smash through their fitness plateau. For a fit and active population, HIIT is extremely time efficient.

“For those people with a good base level of cardiovascular fitness and strength, HIIT will help you to keep getting fitter,” explains Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research. “For athletes, it can reduce training time and still improve performance.”

Bryce adds that the findings of this second study are not only relevant for football players. “It is a very real prescription for maximizing competition performance and minimizing training time across a range of competitive sports.” What’s more, the variety provided with LES MILLS GRIT workouts could potentially reduce the risk of overuse injuries that can come from traditional conditioning such as distance running. HIIT training has the potential to cause injury also but this can be controlled with options and adaptations provided within LES MILLS GRIT.

With this research front of mind, the message is clear: it’s not the volume but the intensity that fuels change.

References: Christoforos D. GIANNAKI, George APHAMIS, Panikos SAKKIS, Marios HADJICHARALAMBOUS. Eight weeks of a combination of high intensity interval training and conventional training reduce visceral adiposity and improve physical fitness: a group-based intervention. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2015 Jan 08.

More information can be found here.