One type of cardio that has grown in popularity in recent years is high-intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIIT for short. Twenty minutes of HIIT cardio can burn as much calories as an HOUR on the treadmill. Think about that the next time you decide to roll out of bed at 5am, half asleep, to go and do your early morning fasted cardio at the gym before a busy day at work. Or perhaps you do it after work, by which time you're again too tired to do it properly.
Those are the situations in which as little as twenty minutes of HIIT training will be enough to help you burn fat and start to reveal your hard trained muscle underneath. HIIT cardio keeps your heart rate up, maximising time spent in the fat burning zone, which leads to a great fat burning effect even after the session. So not only will you burn more calories, this causes a thermogenic response in the body and kicks the body's repair cycle into hyper-drive, resulting in a higher rate of fat loss in the 24 hours AFTER a HIIT workout than what you get with standard steady-state cardio.
Another great benefit is that there is very little recovery time required between sessions (around two days).
HIIT is perfect for people who have limited time to train as it only requires a minimum of 20 minutes for an effective session. This can be done early morning, on your lunch break or whenever you're able to squeeze a session in.
Steady state cardio is great for people who may not have the endurance, speed or mobility to do HIIT cardio. It's a mainstay for athletes training for sports that require greater stamina, energy and muscular endurance, but it is also great for bodybuilders whose primary concern is building as much muscle as possible. Many people prefer steady state for their cardiovascular training and obese, pregnant or elderly trainees can also benefit from doing steady state cardio instead of HIIT.
There is a much greater reduction in the risk of injury with this form of cardio and it is better suited for steady weight loss, building muscular endurance, stamina and injury rehabilitation and can be performed more often due to the decreased stress on the body.
In conclusion, HIIT cardio is an extremely effective way to help you reach your weight loss goals quickly if you have an upcoming deadline or limited time to achieve them, however more than a few sessions per week will put heavy stress on your nervous system. Slow, steady-state cardio has its own respective advantages for fat loss and might be better for certain fitness enthusiasts. Depending on your fitness level, age, experience, and goals, steady-state cardio can definitely be highly effective in your workout regimen.
Overall, both cardio methods have their pros and cons and a combination of both HIIT and steady state training would serve their purpose in helping you achieve your weight loss goals quickly and stay injury-free.
For optimal effect, we would recommend HIIT sessions twice a week along with one or two steady state sessions, all combined with a tailored resistance training programme and a healthy balanced diet.
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