Diet and Weight

What Cardio is Best for Weight Loss: H.I.I.T Vs Steady State Cardio

There is a long running debate among Personal Trainers and Fitness Professionals about which cardio is best for fat loss, High intensity interval training or Standard aerobic based steady state cardio like swimming, cycling, and running.
However, the truth about fat loss is that it’s not a simple one size fits all. The are 4 main things everyone needs to consider before following any one specific cardio plan.

Are You Strength Training?

Strength training is a vital part of fat loss. If you are struggling with your fat loss and are not currently including strength training in your routine, then this is first thing you need to add on top of your current cardio plan. Combining strength training with cardio is 40% more effective for fat loss than cardio alone as it helps increase your metabolism, improve your overall physical fitness, and give you a more well-rounded training routine. Adding a simple 30-minute body weight circuit 1-2 times per week is enough to kickstart fat loss once you are in a calorie deficit.

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Which Cardio Do You Prefer?

Real weight loss results come in the long term, not the short term. You should choose the cardio you like best as you are much more likely to keep that in your weekly routine for a longer time, resulting in getting better results in the long term.
There is no point giving up the 5km run you love, for a H.I.I.T. session you hate as you will not only lose the progress you’ve made in your running but also most likely give up on the H.I.I.T. in the short term.

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How Much Time Do You Have to Workout?

If you have no preference but only a limited amount of time daily to train, then you get more bang for your buck with H.I.I.T. workouts and standard cardio. You can put together effective H.I.I.T. cardio or mixed circuits in as little as 20 minutes that can cover all aspects of training required to see great long-term results in weight loss, improved body shape and increased strength.
The same cannot be done with steady cardio as the first 15-20 minutes of a standard cardio session is only a warm up which barely works your cardiovascular system and muscles above normal aerobic levels.

Are You in A Calorie Deficit?

The biggest mistake people make when they struggle with weight loss is changing up their training routine too much. Physical fitness only improves when you see consistent progress every 6-8 weeks in your strength and cardio. This requires consistency in workouts and exercise choice. If you are seeing great fitness results but very little fat loss, then you need to look at your overall nutritional plan and make sure you are in a weekly calorie deficit.
Without a calorie deficit, fat loss in impossible no matter how good your training is. Along with your training you need to learn the basics of healthy nutrition, so you can easily manage a daily calorie deficit without effecting your energy levels or performance in your workouts.

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William Eames

Updated: May 3, 2018

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