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  1. #1
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    Calories burned DURING HIIT: Same avg. HR, same exercise duration

    So I find HR to be a much better indicator of calories burned during a workout than METS/Machine readouts, and since I'm on a cut and can do an hour of cardio on off days, being inaccurate can mean eating up to 300 calories too much/little. I know there are different opinions and study conclusions regarding the EPOCness (afterburn) of HIIT... but I like doing it once or twice a week for the cardiovascular conditioning it provides, and afterburn is just a bonus.

    My question is whether average heart rate is a reliable indicator for a HIIT workout. I can do 30 min of elliptical at an avg HR of 150 and burn somewhere in the range of 420 kCal for my height/weight/age. However, when I do a HIIT workout that long (includes warm/up and cool down) my heart rate jumps all over the place. During the ten minutes of actual intervals, the average might be 163, with peaks of 180+. Needless to say, at the end of the 30 min... my HR monitor might have an average HR of 150 (due to the warmup/CD), but I feel like I worked a lot more. Is it just a subjective thing, and HR still works for calculating burn? Or does someone else know the right way to log cals burned during HIIT.

    I also know that the studies I read showed a linear relationship between calories burned between HRs of 100-150. Does anyone know what happens at HRs above 150? Does the regression curve flatten or is it more of an exponential rise of some kind? I wish I could post a graph to make this part of the Q easier.
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  3. #3
    Registered User gesundheit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abendm View Post
    So I find HR to be a much better indicator of calories burned during a workout than METS/Machine readouts, and since I'm on a cut and can do an hour of cardio on off days, being inaccurate can mean eating up to 300 calories too much/little. I know there are different opinions and study conclusions regarding the EPOCness (afterburn) of HIIT... but I like doing it once or twice a week for the cardiovascular conditioning it provides, and afterburn is just a bonus.

    My question is whether average heart rate is a reliable indicator for a HIIT workout. I can do 30 min of elliptical at an avg HR of 150 and burn somewhere in the range of 420 kCal for my height/weight/age. However, when I do a HIIT workout that long (includes warm/up and cool down) my heart rate jumps all over the place. During the ten minutes of actual intervals, the average might be 163, with peaks of 180+. Needless to say, at the end of the 30 min... my HR monitor might have an average HR of 150 (due to the warmup/CD), but I feel like I worked a lot more. Is it just a subjective thing, and HR still works for calculating burn? Or does someone else know the right way to log cals burned during HIIT.

    I also know that the studies I read showed a linear relationship between calories burned between HRs of 100-150. Does anyone know what happens at HRs above 150? Does the regression curve flatten or is it more of an exponential rise of some kind? I wish I could post a graph to make this part of the Q easier.
    I train HIIT with the treadmill about 4 - 5 times per week and my HR is always going up and down during my intervals (150 - 175). That is why the workout is much tougher than your regular workout and the fat burn is much better (about 9x more fat is burned with HIIT) than in comparison to low intensity cardio. The "after-burn" effect is due to the fact that your body has to expend energy during the rest of the day to recover from this brutal workout. This is known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume a great deal more oxygen recovering from this type of workout than you would have if you'd just done a steady low-intensity workout. Also, when you perform long-duration, moderate-intensity exercise, you can actually put yourself in a catabolic state in which you will start losing muscle mass (For example: compare the physiques of a maratahon runner and a sprinter). Another advantage of HIIT is that you will increase your VO2 Max, which will improve the amount of oxygen you can uptake while doing exercise, so this can help you increase the intensity of your overall training (lifting, jogging, cycling, etc.).

    I train HIIT the following way:

    - Sprint at speed 14.0 for 60 seconds and walk at speed 7.0 for 60 seconds
    - I repeat this interval 5 times
    - Then I sprint at speed 12.0 for 30 seconds and walk at speed 6.0 for 30 seconds
    - I repeat this interval 10 times
    - Total HIIT workout = 20 minutes
    - I then immediately follow my HIIT with 10 - 15 minutes of low-intensity cardio (walking in the treadmill at speed 5.0 with elevation 2.0 - 4.0 and my HR at 125 - 140) to burn some more fat and lower my HR.
    - I burn about 500 - 600 calories with this workout and I am done for the day
    - I do this workout after lifting
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  4. #4
    Registered User abendm's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mandimeoutof10 View Post
    (link to image I had to remove)
    lolwut?

    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    I train HIIT with the treadmill about 4 - 5 times per week and my HR is always going up and down during my intervals (150 - 175). That is why the workout is much tougher...........................................
    Thanks for your post man, but I'm not sure if you read what I originally posted. I know all about HIIT (incidentally, are you going hard enough? Minute long intervals aren't HIIT but some form of aerobic/anaerobic threshold training), how to do it, and the supposed Epicness (EPOCness) of it. My question is purely about calories burned DURING the workout. The basis of the question is comparing a constant HR (150 for 30 min) to a wildly fluctuating HR that averages the same (HR moves btwn 130-180 but averages 150 at end of workout). I'm going to keep doing HIIT regardless because some sick part of me actually likes it... it's more about calculating how much to eat by the end of the day.
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  5. #5
    Registered User gesundheit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abendm View Post
    lolwut? I know all about HIIT (incidentally, are you going hard enough? Minute long intervals aren't HIIT but some form of aerobic/anaerobic threshold training), how to do it, and the supposed Epicness (EPOCness) of it.
    Am I training hard enough? Next time you are at the gym, go to the treadmill and try 5 intervals just as I do them: 60 seconds sprinting at 14.0 and 60 seconds jogging at 7.0. Tell me afterwards how it went. I don't think you realize but speed 14.0 at the treadmill is sprinting at about 80% total speed.

    FYI, the shorter intervals are linked with adaptation and the longer ones still have some adaptation, but your sprinting is taking place in a glycogen depleted state. Therefore, the longer intervals completely exhaust your muscles of their stored energy and this energy will take 24hr to 48 hrs to replenish (EPOC). These type of 1:1 long intervals are superb for direct fat burning and weight loss.

    As far as the HR comparison between low-intensity and HIIT, I think the difference in fat burn is not going to be related to your average HR during each type of cardio, but rather due to the intensity of the workout. Your body will deplete energy sources faster and thus will burn more fat when you are doing bursts of highly intensive cardio.

    Do you use a heart rate monitor? If so, then do 15 minutes of low-intensity cardio at 150 bpm and record the calories burned. Then the next day do HIIT for 15 minutes with intervals of 30:30 or 60:60 and record the calories burned. I think you will be shocked at the difference.

    Anyways...I am very pleased to know that you enjoy HIIT. I love it too and it is a great workout. The best thing about it, is that it will improve your cardiovascular resistance. Therefore, next time you go for a jog, ride your bike or play football with friends, you will realize that you can go faster and farther than before. I play soccer once a week with my college classmates and after 6 weeks of training HIIT, they where puzzled of how in the hell I could run so much during 90 minutes. It makes it more fun that I am 3-4 years older than some of them. LOL!
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  6. #6
    Registered User abendm's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post

    FYI, the shorter intervals are linked with adaptation and the longer ones still have some adaptation, but your sprinting is taking place in a glycogen depleted state. Therefore, the longer intervals completely exhaust your muscles of their stored energy and this energy will take 24hr to 48 hrs to replenish (EPOC). These type of 1:1 long intervals are superb for direct fat burning and weight loss.


    Do you use a heart rate monitor? If so, then do 15 minutes of low-intensity cardio at 150 bpm and record the calories burned. Then the next day do HIIT for 15 minutes with intervals of 30:30 or 60:60 and record the calories burned. I think you will be shocked at the difference.
    Hey man, didn't mean to be offensive, I definitely phrased that wrong and I guess we're both being really technical here about our intervals. For the 1:1 intervals and glycogen depletion, have you found that to affect your ability to lift and recover from lifting? I'll probably post another thread about HIIT/Recovery, but figured I'd get your personal experience. Glycogen depletion scares me cuz I really don't want to catabolize muscle.

    As the the HRM, I use one, but its calories burned estimate for me is waaaaaaaaayyyyy off, so I just ignore it and use the average. For steady state cardio, this works amazingly well and is backed up by a number of studies. I'd link the most recent and accepted, but I can't yet with my post count. You can find it by searching for "Prediction of energy expenditure from heart rate
    monitoring during submaximal exercise" on google scholar though.

    Are you saying though that the calories burned estimate would be different for HIIT/Steady State even if the avg. heart rates are the same? Like the HRM calculates calories burned at smaller samples than the whole workout? This would be really interesting to know, cuz then I could try and figure out just how far off my HRM's calories burned estimate is and just adjust for that.
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    Registered User Mightymuff's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    I don't think you realize but speed 14.0 at the treadmill is sprinting at about 80% total speed.
    I don't think you realiase this but HIIT involves periods of close to 100% exursion as possible, you are doing 1 minute intervals you are not doing HIIT correctly and are infact just doing interval training. Think 100m sprints.

    To OP: You are over thinking things, if you want to lose weight then just be consistent with what you eat, if you factor in 300 caloires for your HIIT and always factor in 300 calories then that's all that really matters. Consistency.
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  8. #8
    Blackmill Music 10/10 th3pwn3r's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mightymuff View Post
    I don't think you realiase this but HIIT involves periods of close to 100% exursion as possible, you are doing 1 minute intervals you are not doing HIIT correctly and are infact just doing interval training. Think 100m sprints.

    To OP: You are over thinking things, if you want to lose weight then just be consistent with what you eat, if you factor in 300 caloires for your HIIT and always factor in 300 calories then that's all that really matters. Consistency.
    Lol, strong spelling homie! Exertion! Honestly, I had to google it haha, saw yours and knew it wasn't right but failed to spell it properly myself, it's the words I never really use that get me =/

    Anyhow, I didn't read the thread because TL;DR BUT I'd use HIIT over LISS when I'm trying to save time, although people are impressed by ridiculous speed or seeing explosions of energy.
    "Everyone thinks they're on their way to single digit body fat as soon as they see a blurry four-pack in the right lighting.Your final body weight at 5-6% will be a lot less than what you think.Talk to me again when you get in contest shape." I'd be willing to say that 95% of people on this forum accomplish nothing in years, don't be one of those people. It's sad,they seem to have the knowledge many don't but can't utilize it.
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    Originally Posted by Mightymuff View Post

    To OP: You are over thinking things, if you want to lose weight then just be consistent with what you eat, if you factor in 300 caloires for your HIIT and always factor in 300 calories then that's all that really matters. Consistency.
    You're probably right, it's just I've hit a plateau and I know I'm logging the cals I'm eating correctly, so I'm wondering if I'm ****ing up on the cals I'm burning. I calculated maintenance using a sedentary factor and add back in the calories that I burn from cardio, and 200 cals/hr from lifting. Wondering if I've either somehow hit starvation mode, or if I'm overestimating cals burned and am eating maintenance.
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    Blackmill Music 10/10 th3pwn3r's Avatar
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    How about dumbing it down? If you're truly at a plateau and just maintaining then you're simply eating too damn much.
    "Everyone thinks they're on their way to single digit body fat as soon as they see a blurry four-pack in the right lighting.Your final body weight at 5-6% will be a lot less than what you think.Talk to me again when you get in contest shape." I'd be willing to say that 95% of people on this forum accomplish nothing in years, don't be one of those people. It's sad,they seem to have the knowledge many don't but can't utilize it.
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    Originally Posted by abendm View Post
    You're probably right, it's just I've hit a plateau and I know I'm logging the cals I'm eating correctly, so I'm wondering if I'm ****ing up on the cals I'm burning. I calculated maintenance using a sedentary factor and add back in the calories that I burn from cardio, and 200 cals/hr from lifting. Wondering if I've either somehow hit starvation mode, or if I'm overestimating cals burned and am eating maintenance.
    What's your current intake? What's your maintenance?
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    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    How about dumbing it down? If you're truly at a plateau and just maintaining then you're simply eating too damn much.
    It's clear you have more experience than I do with this based on your weight and avatar, that's why I'm on this forum; to get advice from ppl like you. Respectfully though, I don't see how paying less attention to diet would help at this point. I'm weighing virtually all food and logging using MFP. I'm 255, and if I'm logging exercise, I net between 1800-2500 cals a day. I should be consistently losing 1.5-2 lbs a week but for like the last month or so I haven't been. I assume I have to be doing something wrong regarding eating my exercise calories, cuz I really doubt I've gone into starvation mode with a 1K cal daily deficit for four months.
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    Originally Posted by abendm View Post
    It's clear you have more experience than I do with this based on your weight and avatar, that's why I'm on this forum; to get advice from ppl like you. Respectfully though, I don't see how paying less attention to diet would help at this point. I'm weighing virtually all food and logging using MFP. I'm 255, and if I'm logging exercise, I net between 1800-2500 cals a day. I should be consistently losing 1.5-2 lbs a week but for like the last month or so I haven't been. I assume I have to be doing something wrong regarding eating my exercise calories, cuz I really doubt I've gone into starvation mode with a 1K cal daily deficit for four months.

    How active are you? Also, quit with the "starvation mode".. Yeah, your body will slow down if your intake is drastically low but starvation mode is a stretch. At 255, your body would live off of your body fat for a long time before starvation.
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    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    Lol, strong spelling homie! Exertion! Honestly, I had to google it haha, saw yours and knew it wasn't right but failed to spell it properly myself, it's the words I never really use that get me =/
    Yeah my spelling is terrible!
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    Originally Posted by PhiSig2298 View Post
    How active are you? Also, quit with the "starvation mode".. Yeah, your body will slow down if your intake is drastically low but starvation mode is a stretch. At 255, your body would live off of your body fat for a long time before starvation.
    I agree man, I also doubt starvation. I do SS, so lifting three times a week. I very rarely do morning fasted LISS on lifting days. I always get 10 min LISS as warmup and cooldown on lift days. For three non-lift days I either do HIIT with a long warmup (20s/40s cuz I can't rest any less or I'll die), or 40-60 min of fairly high intensity steady state (averaging 155 on HRM).

    MFP has calculated my maintenance at 2800 for a sedentary lifestyle. I try to maintain a 1K cal deficit, but I add in/eat the cals I burn. So on off day I'd eat 1800-2500, but on a 40-60 min of cardio day I might eat closer to 2600 cuz I may have burned up to 800 cals.
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    Originally Posted by Mightymuff View Post
    I don't think you realiase this but HIIT involves periods of close to 100% exursion as possible, you are doing 1 minute intervals you are not doing HIIT correctly and are infact just doing interval training. Think 100m sprints.

    To OP: You are over thinking things, if you want to lose weight then just be consistent with what you eat, if you factor in 300 caloires for your HIIT and always factor in 300 calories then that's all that really matters. Consistency.
    I meant that speed 14.0 = 80% of the treadmill's total maximum speed and no, you do not need to reach 100% of your capacity to be doing HIIT. The 1:1 or "half and half" intervals of HIIT can be done with 30 seconds or 60 seconds, with the latter being the harder and most advance version (try sprinting for one entire minute). Just google "HIIT Intervals" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    I meant that speed 14.0 = 80% of the treadmill's total maximum speed and no, you do not need to reach 100% of your capacity to be doing HIIT. The 1:1 or "half and half" intervals of HIIT can be done with 30 seconds or 60 seconds, with the latter being the harder and most advance version (try sprinting for one entire minute). Just google "HIIT Intervals" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
    This is all just technical, it's clear that gesundheit knows the difference though. From a standpoint of technical correctness (which is the best kind of correctness... esoteric reference) I'd more or less agree with MightyMuff. What I call HIIT involves getting HR above 90% of max, the closer to max the better. That's what prompted my initial comment about training intensity. It takes a few seconds for me to get HR above 180, but once I do I can only maintain it for a few seconds, which is why my intervals are 20ish/40ish. The "ish's" are cuz it takes me a few seconds to tell the elliptical to drop resistance. Raising isn't a problem cuz I can push all the keys but "enter" before the work interval starts. I wouldn't call what gesundheit's doing "HIIT," but if you look above, he makes the distinction himself with the whole 1:1, 1:3 discussion.

    Keep the replies coming. There's plenty on the internet/bb about HIIT, but a lot of it seems confused and imprecise... I'm finding all of this thread to be quite helpful.
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    I meant that speed 14.0 = 80% of the treadmill's total maximum speed and no, you do not need to reach 100% of your capacity to be doing HIIT. The 1:1 or "half and half" intervals of HIIT can be done with 30 seconds or 60 seconds, with the latter being the harder and most advance version (try sprinting for one entire minute). Just google "HIIT Intervals" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
    Got video of you sprinting for 60 seconds?
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    yeah definitely not starvation mode, you need to have not eaten anything in 36 hours
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    Originally Posted by PhiSig2298 View Post
    Got video of you sprinting for 60 seconds?
    I think he meant sprint for 30seconds walk for 30. Anyhow, it's not starvation mode, it's too many calories if you're not losing MASS. Don't use the scale as your only method from tracking your results, this may be your problem OP.
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    Originally Posted by PhiSig2298 View Post
    Got video of you sprinting for 60 seconds?
    I do basically this same routine 5-6 times a week. Why is it so hard to believe? I sprint at 13.0 and jog at 6.0 every other minute until I reach 2 miles. There are many different ways of doing HIIT. You can do 1:2, 2:1. 1:1, its up to you.
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    at 255lbs, you're probably better off with semi daily plain jane cardio than futzing around with HIIT.
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    Originally Posted by MuscleMission9 View Post
    I do basically this same routine 5-6 times a week. Why is it so hard to believe? I sprint at 13.0 and jog at 6.0 every other minute until I reach 2 miles. There are many different ways of doing HIIT. You can do 1:2, 2:1. 1:1, its up to you.
    I suppose it comes down to your interpretation of "sprinting". I wouldn't class a 60 seconds interval as sprinting. I don't even feel that HIIT on a machine allows you to even be explosive enough either due to ramp up/down times of speeds and fiddling with buttons/knobs, would rather just get outside and sprint
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    Originally Posted by PhiSig2298 View Post
    Got video of you sprinting for 60 seconds?
    Nope, hadn't even thought about doing that. It's hard enough right now trying to grasp air while hauling ass in the treadmill to even think about shooting video of myself at the gym.

    I started with much milder intervals but I've gotten to this level after doing a combination of HITT, low intensity and weights for 6 weeks, so my cardiovascular capacity has improved a lot. For reference, I'm 30 years old so my maximum HR is 190. When I do the 60 second sprints my bpm is around 170 - 180 (90% - 95%) depending on the interval I'm working on at the moment and when I'm jogging for 60 seconds my heart goes down to 150 - 160 bpm. I can only do 5 sets of these (total of 10 mins) and then I do 5 sets of 30:30 with speed 12.0/6.0 (total of 5 mins). At this point my heart is pumping so fast and I'm so exhausted, that when I do the slower intervals my heart is still around the 170-180 bpm range when going faster. I totally agree that for HIIT to work, you have to do your sprints at 90% - 95% or more of maximum capacity. I think I confused everyone when I stated that 14.0 speed = 80% of total capacity. I was actually referencing to the machine's total maximum speed and not about my maximum capacity. I just wanted to clarify that speed 14.0 is very tough.

    In an earlier post, someone asked whether HIIT affects my recovery for the next day's workouts. Definitely yes. Although I started noticing it until a couple of weeks ago when I increased the intensity of the workout. Therefore, I'm thinking of doing HIIT 2-3 times per week only and not back-to-back so that it does not interfere with my strength training at the moment. A few weeks ago cardio was my top priority because I had a lot of weight to lose, but I think I'm going to tone it down a bit to focus more on muscle mass. Therefore, I will do low-intensity cardio for 30 minutes instead after my lifting workout.

    One thing is for sure, after I switched to HIIT I noticed a fast increase of weight loss. Don't exactly know if it's related to the HIIT, but as far as I'm concerned it worked for me and I'm happy.

    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    I think he meant sprint for 30seconds walk for 30. Anyhow, it's not starvation mode, it's too many calories if you're not losing MASS. Don't use the scale as your only method from tracking your results, this may be your problem OP.
    No, I meant sprinting for 60 seconds and then slowing down (jogging) for 60 seconds. In HIIT there are intervals of 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 and you can do them for example 30-30/60-60, 30-15/60-30 and 45-15/90-30. I started first doing 3:1 with 90:30, then I moved to 2:1 with 60:30, then I moved to 1:1 with 30:30 and right now I am doing 1:1 with 60:60. I don't understand why you guys think it's impossible. Try it.

    Originally Posted by Mightymuff View Post
    I suppose it comes down to your interpretation of "sprinting". I wouldn't class a 60 seconds interval as sprinting. I don't even feel that HIIT on a machine allows you to even be explosive enough either due to ramp up/down times of speeds and fiddling with buttons/knobs, would rather just get outside and sprint
    I agree, but it's the best I can do right now. I live in Germany at the moment and it is currently -4 where I live at and I can only do my workouts after 6:00 PM. Therefore, I have to live with doing them at the gym at the moment. I can't wait for the temperature to increase to start doing them outside with sprints at the track, with stairs or sprinting uphill. Definitely a lot more fun and it's always nice to be outside!
    Last edited by gesundheit; 12-20-2011 at 01:37 PM.
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    No, I meant sprinting for 60 seconds and then slowing down (jogging) for 60 seconds. In HIIT there are intervals of 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 and you can do them for example 30-30/60-60, 30-15/60-30 and 45-15/90-30. I started first doing 3:1 with 90:30, then I moved to 2:1 with 60:30, then I moved to 1:1 with 30:30 and right now I am doing 1:1 with 60:60. I don't understand why you guys think it's impossible. Try it.
    I'd love to see you do an all out sprint for a full minute. Make a video of it please.
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    Originally Posted by gesundheit View Post
    I agree, but it's the best I can do right now. I live in Germany at the moment and it is currently -4 where I live at and I can only do my workouts after 6:00 PM. Therefore, I have to live with doing them at the gym at the moment. I can't wait for the temperature to increase to start doing them outside with sprints at the track, with stairs or sprinting uphill. Definitely a lot more fun and it's always nice to be outside!
    You could always get an interval timer and jump rope, or burpies, or mountain climbers, or what ever gets your HR in the target range.
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    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    I'd love to see you do an all out sprint for a full minute. Make a video of it please.
    Yeah his speed is going to drop off a lot after :30 HIIT is really about the intensity he's doing. If he's really giving it his all at :45 but moving slower it's still going to torch fat.
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    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    I'd love to see you do an all out sprint for a full minute. Make a video of it please.

    lulz this.. Willing to bet anyone & everyone on this site is unable to sprint for 60 seconds.


    Anyway, back to OP.. If the scale is the only thing you're watching, that could be a bad thing. Depending on BF%, how new you are to lifting, etc, etc. you could be gaining muscle & losing body fat. Usually they aren't linear but heavier individuals & newbies can experience it for a little bit.

    Are your lifts going up? Clothes feeling loose? Look better in the mirror?
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    Originally Posted by th3pwn3r View Post
    I'd love to see you do an all out sprint for a full minute. Make a video of it please.
    I think you are missing the point. The effectiveness of HIIT is not related to someone being able to sprint for 60 seconds like a professional sprinter. It is related to increasing the heart rate frequency to 90-95% capacity and then lowering it to work on your EPOC. When I say "sprint" I mean I run at a speed of 14.0 in the treadmill for 60 seconds and that gets me to my capacity. For me, that is sprinting, it is working for me to burn body fat, and that is all I care. I don't have to shoot some ridiculous video to prove a point to some stranger on a forum. My goal is weight loss and improving my physique, not becoming an online expert in HIIT. I just shared what I am currently doing.
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    Originally Posted by evander87 View Post
    You could always get an interval timer and jump rope, or burpies, or mountain climbers, or what ever gets your HR in the target range.
    Thanks for the suggestions! I've thought about doing with the jump rope, but the treadmill is working for me to reach my target range so I'll stick to it until the weather improves. I'm going back home to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks on vacation so I'll try HIIT at the beach. That will be lots of fun!
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