This guest post is something that i know that i personally practice! I do a lot more HIIT than steady state cardio (steady state cardio is hopping on the treadmill, elliptical, or other machine and just going along for 30…40…50+ minutes).
Why You Should Choose HIIT Over Steady State Cardio
Step into any gym up and down the country and you will probably see lots of people on the exercise bikes, treadmills and steppers gently puffing along while hardly breaking a sweat.
Most will be glued to the latest reality TV show, lots will be deep in conversation with the person on the machine next to them, and some will be nonchalantly flicking through the pages of a celebrity magazine.
Why? Because they were told by someone years ago that hours of steady state cardio is an effective way to burn fat.
Well I’m here to tell you that this approach to losing weight is outdated, extremely ineffective and a colossal waste of your time.
Instead, you should be swapping those leisurely hours on the treadmill for bursts of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which will be much more effective in the long-term – and will also save you hours of time.
Push it harder!
Ultimately, if you want to lose fat quickly and effectively, and get that cover model physique you’ve been dreaming of, then you need to step up the intensity NOW!
Fear not, this doesn’t mean giving it everything you’ve got for hours on end – unless you are a world-class athlete, this is a completely unrealistic target.
Instead, we’re just going to need your max effort for a few minutes.
Indeed, studies show that 5 x 30 seconds of super high intensity work followed by 4 minutes recovery are just as effective as 90 minutes of constant, low intensity cardio.
So, for the same gains, you can either workout for 90 mins or 22.5 mins.
Which one would you rather choose?
This is one of the beauties of HIIT – you can easily fit in an effective workout around a busy schedule.
However, be warned, these intensive bursts will be tough – we’re talking sick buckets at the ready tough!
These following workouts should give you a good idea of what HIIT involves – that is, high intensity intervals followed by rest periods.
1) Squatting Carnage
Warm up and then rack up the barbell with a light weight. Squat 1 minute for reps. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 10 times.
2) Hill Sprints
Run 1 mile to a hill as a warm up. Sprint 30 seconds up the hill and then jog back down. Repeat 10 times.
3) ‘The Destroyer’
Warm up. Squat for 1 minute, 1 minute rest; Deadlift for 1 minute, 1 minute rest; Bench Press for 1 minute, 1 minute rest, Pull Ups for 1 minute, 1 minute rest. Repeat 2 times.
When attempting these workouts, there is one important caveat which you should bear in mind.
That is, the high intensity intervals should be max effort – in other words, give it everything you’ve got!
Wrapping it up
Importantly, steady state cardio still has its place when training for endurance events, and don’t get me wrong I still really enjoy the occasional 5 mile run – there’s nothing better when it comes to clearing my head and getting away from it all.
However, if you’re training exclusively for fat loss, you need to cast aside that low intensity work for good, as it’s not really achieving anything.
Ultimately, 3 bits of fruit, a Special K bar and low intensity cardio is not going to lead to fat loss anytime soon; getting down and dirty at the squat rack, hill sprints, and hard work will.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this topic, I’d love to hear from you – just leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
About the author
Henry is a fitness junkie with a passion for heavy squats, strength training and martial arts. You can find him blogging over at GymTalk.