If you read the previous article in our fat loss series, you may remember me mentioning that cardio is not the most important tool when it comes to fat loss. Although cardio should not be the staple of your fat loss routine, that doesn’t mean it can’t be utilized to expedite the fat loss process. If you are to do some cardio to accelerate your fat loss, it’s important that you understand how to use it properly. You may have heard of HIIT before, but, what is HIIT cardio? It is one type of cardio that has become very popular. Let’s learn more about it and how it can be utilized in your fat loss journey.
It is also mentioned in our previous article that your body responds and adapts to the signals that are being sent to it in order to become more efficient. If you strength train, your body will respond, adapt, and become more efficient to the signal by becoming stronger and building more lean muscle, leading to a faster metabolism. If you run long distance on a frequent basis, your body will respond, adapt, and become more efficient to that signal by slowing down its metabolism to burn fewer calories each bout. We then need to ask, if cardiovascular activity burns more calories than other forms of exercise but it can also slow down your resting metabolism, how do you utilize it without slowing down the metabolism?
After reading the previous article in this series, you know that only 10%-30% of your daily calories are burned from exercise. As you learned that information and implemented weight training into your routine to speed up your resting metabolism, we come to a place where you can utilize other tools to give your body a fat loss “boost” so-to-speak.
HIIT cardio is the tool you can lean on without worrying about slowing down your metabolism. HIIT is one of the most effective methods of cardiovascular training for fat loss as it calls your body to burn maximum calories in the short 12-15 minute bout without asking the body to become too efficient with its calories throughout the day.
HIIT cardio is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. It has been around for quite some time and has been shown to have effective fat-burning and performance-enhancing effects. As opposed to steady-state cardio or LISS (low intensity steady-state cardio) HIIT cardio is performed in quick bouts, combining both low intensity and high intensity work at varying ratios. Usually, HIIT is performed anywhere from 12-15 minutes. During that time, bouts of cardio are performed at a specified ratio.
HIIT can be performed on endless types of equipment. You can use your body only, a treadmill, stairmaster, rower, and much more. Heck, you can even use battle ropes for HIIT cardio!
Here’s what you need to know:
What makes HIIT cardio so great is its compact structure. We all have lives that can get hectic at times. Although we care about our health very much, we have other commitments in our lives that take priority, too. Therefore, it isn’t realistic to spend hours in the gym every single day while balancing the other things we have going on.
A simple HIIT format that works well no matter what piece of equipment you’re using is performing cardio at a moderate pace for 2 minutes, and then following up with a minute of intense cardio going as hard as you possibly can. You should alternate for 12-15 minutes total. If you’re on a treadmill, this could mean you’re performing a light jog for 2 minutes, and sprinting for 1 minute. I recommend performing HIIT cardio after your weight lifting sessions 2-3 times per week, and weaning off after a 2-3 weeks. The more you utilize it, the less effective it becomes. So, use it as a last-minute boost to reach an extra stride toward your goals. Do not rely on it.
Perform HIIT cardio after weight training a few times per week at most for 12-15 minutes each. Do not rely on HIIT, and only implement it towards the tail end of your training program for maximum results. Regardless of your format or equipment choice, the short but effective structure of HIIT will allow you to retain muscle and lose body fat while keeping the long-term calorie-burning benefits of your weight training workouts.
ABOUT THE AUTHORAdam is a fitness professional, baseball fan, and cookie fanatic based in Fort Collins, Colorado. After hanging up the cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. As an ACE CPT and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, he is constantly moved to help people improve in all walks of life.