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HIIT vs. Metabolic Training? | Q&A Weekly Roundup


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Worried about what could be affecting your fitness goals? In this week’s Q & A, there are a couple of perfect tips in case you’ve quit smoking, are concerned about starvation mode, or loose skin while dieting. You’ll also find clarification on some common workout terms and about dynamic stretching. As always, hopefully the answers here will help you toward achieving your objectives in health & fitness!

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

  • HIIT vs. Metabolic Training
  • Loose Skin and Weight Loss
  • Smoking & Weight Gain
  • Starvation Mode: Fact, or Fiction?
  • Dynamic Stretching & Exercise Prep
  • Question #1 | HIIT vs. Metabolic Training

    Question: I’m curious, is there a difference between the HIIT that gets tossed about so much and Metabolic training? – Dave

    Answer: @Dave – That’s a really great question. There is so much exercise mumbo jumbo sometimes it can be very confusing. I would say HIIT is a style of working out that alternates between bouts of low intensity with bouts of very high intensity. Generally speaking, HIIT workouts refer to workouts that use cardio exercises like jogging, sprinting, rowing etc. Metabolic workouts tend to emphasize more resistance training protocols. The line is definitely blurry, because one could argue a sprint workout is metabolically intense. It’s really just semantics, but hope this is helpful. I’m looking forward to writing an article about the main considerations for an exercise program, which are (1) strength, (2) cardio, and (3) flexibility. That’s how I would think about fitness. Then for each bucket would be some measure of volume and intensity. For more detail on what fitness is all about, check out this article I wrote on the facets of physical fitness.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #2 | Loose Skin and Weight Loss

    Question: If I lose a lot of weight, will I have loose skin and is there any way to tighten it if I do? – Haydn
    Answer: @Haydn – Whether or not you will have loose skin is based on a few factors (1) genetics, (2) age, and (3) pace of fat loss. If you are young and have supple skin, then loose skin is less likely. In addition, if you lose weight very quickly, the chances of having loose skin increase. The one element you can control is the pace of fat loss, which should be roughly 0.5%-1.0% of your bodyweight per week. Slow and steady wins the race. To learn more about excess skin, check out this article – http://weightloss.about.com/od/obesityhealth/a/blexcessskin.htm

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #3 | Smoking & Weight Gain

    Question: Is it true that if you smoke then quit you put on weight and your metabolism slows down? – Mitch
    Answer: Hey Mitch, technically, according to WebMD, your metabolism is increased very slightly when you smoke, which can cause your heart to beat an extra 10-20 beats faster per minute. So it’s around 200 extra calories for a heavy smoker per day max, or 50-100 calories for a lighter smoker. Assuming even 100 calories extra per day, it would take a year and a half to gain 15lb of fat assuming you burned everything off but those 100 calories. In addition, after you quit smoking, your smelling senses are improved, which can further increase your appetite.

    I think Alex made some great points:

    “I know I’m not the person you wanted to answer your question but I’ve had personal experience with this. it doesn’t slow your metabolism. But smoking suppresses appetite. So when you stop, people start to eat more. Some people also eat for something to do with their hands while they quit. But if you are conscious of what you eat you shouldn’t gain any weight.” -Alex

    I’m sorry to hear you are frustrated and have it a plateau, but it’s very positive news you quit. I would recommend reading my article on how to bust through weight loss plateaus as that may be helpful – Break A Weight Loss Plateau.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #4 | Starvation Mode: Fact, or Fiction?

    Question: Hi Marc!
    I was hoping you could shed some light on “starvation mode”and whether it’s fact or fiction? How low exactly can your daily calorie intake get? Thanks in advance! – Ray

    Answer: Hi Ray, I wrote an article on the subject (See: Starvation Mode) and in the comments of that article (my second to last comment), I added more depth:

    “@amy – the starvation mode is not BS, it’s well documented by scientific literature.

    Here are some of the studies to look into:

    -Ancel Key’s Minnesota starvation study
    -Doucet, et al 2001. British journal of nutrition. “Evidence for the existence of adaptive thermogenesis during weight loss.”
    -Biochemical And Physiological Aspects of Human Nutrition by SM. Stipanauk, professor of nutritional sciences, Cornell University (WB Saunders company, 2000)

    I think I do need to update this article by listing more references and improving upon it. In fact, I have a project to update 10 articles with this being one of them that I’ve written (out of 170+, so not too bad) that need to be updated. In the meantime, this article will give you a bit more clarity on the subject of starvation mode – http://www.burnthefat.com/starvation_mode.html.”

    – Chronic calorie deprivation can absolutely decrease metabolic rate. It’s unusual, but does happen. There is no such thing as starvation mode from skipping a meal, but severe chronic calorie deprivation is the issue.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #5 | Dynamic Stretching & Exercise Prep

    Question: What kind of workout do you do after dynamic stretching (basketball, gym, swimming, or Yoga etc.)? – Mike
    Answer: The idea is that dynamic stretching can help you prepare for any type of workout. Dynamic stretching helps (1) promote kinesthetic awareness, (2) warm up body temperature, and (3) prepare the body for the movements that will be involved in the workout/exercise you are about to complete. Just about every athlete does dynamic stretching no matter what the sport before competition because it has been proven conclusively by research and experience to be helpful.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

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    7 Responses to “HIIT vs. Metabolic Training? | Q&A Weekly Roundup”

    1. Justin
      July 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      I read your website almost daily to look for new tips, but lately I’ve been questioning the use of protein shakes for after my workouts. I haven’t been using them for fear of putting on fat, but I workout 5 days a week for about an hour doing moderate to intense workouts. So my question is should I worry about gaining fat? I have as clean of a diet that I can while keeping in consideration I’m a college student, but everyone I’ve talked to insist that I should start using shakes. Also I’m 5’9″ and in one year I’ve gone from 240lbs to 170 lbs so i don’t want to start back tracking. Any help would be much appreciated!

      • July 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

        @Justin – Congrats on your transformation! When did you start following the BuiltLean website? I think the short answer is you definitely do not need protein shakes at all, whether you want to build muscle, lose fat, or just maintain your body weight. I’ve said this many times, but protein shakes are just like liquid chicken breasts. They are convenient and if on a muscle building program can make your life easier in terms of adequate protein ingestion, other than that, don’t love them. The only time I have whey protein is after a workout, and I find over time I’m less and less enthused about whey protein. Yes, the research shows that it can be effective post-workout, but at the end of the day the results are negligible over the long term. Finally, whey protein has some expense. In terms of answering your question directly, whey protein is like any other food in that it has calories, but does not raise insulin much, which is a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t worry about it making you fat as part of a well balanced diet. Hope that’s helpful!

    2. Dan
      July 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      Hi Marc, keep up the great work. Since you were discussing starvation mode above, I wanted to get your opinion on intermittent fasting. There seems to be a few way to implement intermittent fasting but I’d love to get your imput.

      • August 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        @Dan – I apologize for the very late response, we’ve been getting quite a lot of comments across the BuiltLean site and unfortunately, sometimes the backend where we manage the comments gets very unwieldy and some comments slip through the cracks. I think IF is a viable option for some people, but I don’t think it’s a smart idea for some to try IF unless they first have a very good feel for eating whole natural foods. I assure you we will cover IF in much more detail in a full article. I plan on it being in the next couple months.

    3. Lyndon
      July 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      What are your thoughts on the Warrior Diet and the Eat Stop Eat diet in regards to maintaining lean muscle?

      • August 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        @Lyndon – Apologize for the late reply! We are going to cover this in much more depth in a future article, but the number of meals has less of an impact that the total calories/quality of calories. So yes, you can maintain muscle on either of those plans, but there are other issues with IF that may cause gastrointestinal distress in certain people. We will cover this in that full article.

    4. Justin
      July 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Marc,
      Thank you for the response it was very helpful. I have been an avid visitor since your post about taking one Coke out a day and the amount of sugar you would save yourself from ingesting.

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