You want to drop body fat, get strong, and unveil a lean, athletic physique. What kind of cardio will work best?
In the blue corner, we have HIIT: short, intense, and mentally tough.
In the red corner, here’s steady state cardio: easier, less taxing, and you can do it for longer.
Which one is best for blasting calories, maintaining muscle mass, and building a lean physique?
What is HIIT?
HIIT – high intensity interval training – is the type of cardio that combines periods of intense effort with short recoveries. Think sprints, boxing, battle ropes, kettlebell training and other functional fitness workouts.
HIIT and steady state cardio make different demands on the body.
With steady state, you’ll get yourself into a heart rate zone and pretty much stay there for as long as it takes to complete your run or bike ride
When you do HIIT, your body needs more energy than your aerobic system can provide, so to turns to stored energy sources for fuel.
Which burns more calories?
The jury is out on which type of cardio burns more calories. You can do steady state for longer, which means you could rack up a greater number of calories simply by exercising for a longer period of time.
HIIT burns more calories per minute, but you’re unlikely to do it for long. Which brings us to the next question: how long do you want to spend on a workout?
Which is more efficient?
HIIT burns more calories per minute, so if you want to make good use of your workout time, HIIT makes more sense than steady state.
HIIT is more efficient than steady state because you can get so much done in under 30 minutes. You’ll get your heart rate up, burn calories, work all major muscle groups, and get a cardiovascular workout. Plus there’s the after-burn effect