Everyone loves a good high-intensity interval training session, and exercise variation is key for better muscle development and fat loss. But what exactly do these all-out techniques do for your body? We asked trainer, Socanomics creator, and fitness model Selena Watkins to explain how HIIT can help you get sculpted and lean. The methods: Tabata (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off; four minutes); EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute); and AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). Watkins says, “These three protocols are so effective because they raise your metabolism while preserving muscle and torching fat.” 

You’ll raise your power output

A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that elite female volleyball players had improved agility, sprinting, and burst exercise performance when they incorporated interval training.

You’ll burn more calories in less time

Should you go light or go heavy to burn the most calories? According to January 2017 research in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, heavy wins. That’s relative, of course, because your heavy is different from your bestie’s, but the proof is in the poundage—and how fast you move it. Heavier weights lifted explosively, according to this study, will expend more energy than if you move moderate loads explosively or moderate loads under control.

You don’t have to think about it

The mind-muscle connection is important whether you’re lifting fast or slow. But the faster you’re going, the simpler the movement pattern should be so that you don’t have much to think about. Plus excess blood lactate produced during high-intensity exercise can compromise your ability to react, according to research in Physician and Sportsmedicine, so the simple format of HIIT-timed exercises is ideal.