Unless you’re Mo Farah, cardio is probably seen as a chore, rather than an enjoyable hobby. The simple act of exercise stretches back generations, and even our ancestors recognised that upping your heartrate is beneficial. But, nowadays we’re blessed with an abundance of top-class cardio machinery, as well as the great outdoors. Although, there’s often a debate amongst fitness-fanatics…
What’s the superior option for your cardiovascular needs – LISS or HIIT?
Of course, both will protect the health of your heart, improve your overall fitness and burn a significant number of calories, but in this article, we’re going to cover HIIT. Why? Because the general consensus is that it’s taking over. Before we get into some of the benefits, let’s cover what HIIT is, for those that don’t know…
HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training and it involves an alternation of working flat-out and resting. As a result, the sessions are typically quite short and sharp. For instance, if you’re on a treadmill, you may walk steadily for 60 seconds and sprint hard for 30 seconds, then repeat that 8 – 10 times.
Now we’ve covered that, let’s delve into the benefits:
- Increases your metabolism
As HIIT taps into both your cardiovascular system and your muscles, the amount of oxygen you take in skyrockets. Subsequently, the excess amount of oxygen that your body is holding provides your metabolism with a significant boost. An increased metabolism equates to more calories burned, which will lead to faster weight and fat loss.
- Perfect for a busy schedule
In today’s society, near-enough everyone is rushing around trying to fit a million things into a 24-hour period. So, it’s no surprise that plenty of people fail to fit a cardio session in. However, with HIIT being so condensed, there’s really no excuses, because finding 30 minutes to exercise and shower shouldn’t be a problem.
- Sheds a ton of fat
When you train at such a high intensity, you’re obviously going to burn calories and chip away at your fat collection. But, reports suggest that just 15 minutes of HIIT will yield greater results than jogging for a whole hour. Oh, and because HIIT activates the cardiovascular and muscular systems, you’ll be shedding fat for hours afterwards as your body attempts to recover and repair itself.
- Helps to maintain muscle mass
It’s a common assumption in the fitness world that LISS is not an optimal approach when trying to cut fat but retain muscle mass. That’s because you’re just improving your cardiovascular performance while utilizing muscle protein as fuel. Whereas with HIIT, your muscles are being stimulated at the same time as burning calories.
- Improves energy consumption
The constant repetition of resting, working, resting, working enables your body to adapt and use energy more efficiently. But, that management of energy is then integrated into your system, so your body ends up managing energy more efficiently all the time, thus preventing you from feeling drained as often.