There is no easy way to achieving any type of success in a fitness lifestyle, whether that be, burning off a few pounds, building lean muscle, or just breaking your personal record on the bench press. Just like promotions at work, everything requires consistency, patience, and hard work. In this article I will cover the two most popular methods of cardiovascular exercise that are most beneficial in fat loss due to personal experience. It comes to my attention that cardiovascular exercise has many ways of being accomplished these days. I see people jogging on a treadmill at a slow and steady pace for about 2 hours sometimes! Then there are the ones who just sit on a bike while reading a book, which in my opinion is wasting time. You’re in the gym for a reason, and that’s to accomplish the goal you had set for yourself before even entering.
Before I give you the answer to which style of cardio is best, we have to go over the two main methods of cardio performed by athletes today. Let’s start off with HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training). Just the name sounds tough already, doesn’t it? HIIT cardio is best defined as intervals of different speeds being performed. HIIT can be done anywhere as short as 20 minutes, but for those 20 minutes you are consistently working. There are two intervals that make up HIIT: one being the recovery state, and the other being the intense sprint. The goal in that sprint is to get your heart rate racing to where you want to stop. For example, if you are doing 20 minutes of HIIT, a good start for beginners would be to jog for 2 minutes, followed by 30 seconds of an all out sprint, then, return to your jog for 2 minutes of recovery before repeating, and reaching that 20 minute mark. As time goes by, you can increase those sprint intervals to 1 minute and decrease the recovery. There are many ways of performing this style of cardio such as using the stair master, treadmill or even a local park.[caption id="attachment_192" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Kai Greene on the Stairmaster which he calls the "Gauntlet"[/caption]
Become creative with it because using the same machine can become dull and boring. Now let us go over the other method of cardio labeled as LISS (Low Intensity Steady State). Obviously the name is enough to know it is low intensity. This is the method you see every day at the gym being performed for hours at a time. There’s nothing fancy to LISS cardio because you stay at the same pace the entire time. I know you’re probably thinking “Well if I can burn the same amount of calories in 60 minutes of LISS compared to the 20 minutes of HIIT, then why not choose the easy way?” Take a moment to observe a marathon runner versus the sprinter in the Olympics. This analogy is used by so many trainers that it enlightens many to choose HIIT as their method of cardio. Have you checked yet? By now I hope you can tell the difference in their body structure. The sprinter carries so much more muscle mass than a marathon runner does, and do you believe that the sprinter is spending hours on a treadmill? No way![caption id="attachment_191" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The difference between a distance runner and a sprinter.[/caption]
From my personal experience I have seen better results with HIIT cardio because while preparing for one of my NPC contests, I managed to maintain majority of my muscle tissue while burning fat. I was doing HIIT every morning increasing my time every two weeks and only losing 1 pound of fat a week. Trust me, you won’t lose muscle from this method of cardio. For my male gym attendants, do not fear cardio please. There are so many benefits from cardio such as: better recovery, better blood flow for delivery of nutrients, and burning fat. Unless you want to look like a marathon runner, I suggest you start sprinting, and really work hard for quality fat loss.