Are you new to working out and not sure what kind of cardio is best for you? Is long duration steady cardio, HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) or a combination of both best for you?
If you aren’t sure what HIIT is or why it would benefit you by incorporating it into your workout, this blog is for you! We’ll cover both types of cardio. That way you can adjust your cardio with your needs.
Long duration steady cardio includes going for a long run, jog, walk or even a bike ride. This type of cardio uses oxygen as its primary fuel source (aerobic=with oxygen). After the body uses the stored oxygen, it starts to use fat for fuel. This is why many people seeking weight loss gravitate towards this style of cardio. The longer durations are also less intense and often times easier on your joints.
HIIT, on the other hand, uses push intervals to elevate your heart rate more than the steady state. Your body then uses glucose (stored sugar) for fuel instead of fat. You will not only get the aerobic benefits with HIIT, but you will also get the anaerobic (without oxygen) as a bonus with specific types of intervals.
Some styles of HIIT are more taxing on your body (not just your mind while you push). You tend to burn more calories and more fat in a HIIT session than a long duration steady one.
Here is how they compare: Steady State burns 100 calories with 80% of that being fat in a single time frame. Conversely, in the same time, HIIT burns 150 calories with 70% coming from fat.
You can see your overall calorie burn and fat burn is greater even though the percentage is less. If you want lose weight, you must burn more than you put in. Over time you will see more return on time invested with HIIT.
These intervals can be intimidating when you are beginning. Studies show personal satisfaction from HIIT intervals is just as high as typical cardio routines. Overcoming the intensity during the intervals is the biggest drawback for participants. However, the results in inches lost and ability to devote less time for those results made participants pick HIIT over other cardio choices.
The following is a sample HIIT workout that can be done on a treadmill or outside.
Warm up 65-75% of your max speed for 5 minutes.
Take the intensity up to 85-90% (higher if you’re fit) for 1 minute.
Recover 2 minutes at walking speed and repeat x 6 times.
Cool down at 65-75% for 5 minutes.
This will take you approx. 30 minutes. You can change up the intervals to 30 seconds on with 1-minute rest, but I do suggest if you’re a beginner you plan on a ration of 1:2 (intense to recover). Those that are more advanced can do a 1:1 ratio.
As you can see HIIT is a hit and if you’re not doing it, you should! This is where having a coach is helpful because they can create HIIT workouts specific to your fitness level and goals. In addition they can help you with all aspects of being FIT!
Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels.