the best cardio exercise for fat loss



Whenever we think of cardio, most of us immediately think of:


jogging, aerobics or jumping on the elliptical and pretending you're a gliding superhero. Only recently have we started shifting our mindset to other options. By and large, one of the most popular alternative cardio is "High Intensity Interval Training" aka "HIIT" And at this point of the debate, it is terribly clear that "HIIT" should and can have a mainstay within the discussion of being an efficient fitness strategy alongside your ancient cardio.

And I can sit here and discuss all of the research showcasing the benefits of HIIT for not only weight and fat loss, but also performance but... you know what?

Let's point out some. Like the study that found HIIT inducing similar fat loss as Steady State cardio even though HIIT took a third of the time to complete or the study that found HIIT to improve VO2 Max, a measurement of cardiovascular and aerobic fitness better than actual aerobic exercise. Another study showed that two hours of HIIT per week is just as good for half marathon training as five hours per week of endurance cardio.


The research goes on and on and on. Not only is HIIT as good as traditional cardio, research suggests that it can be better and require much less time commitment. Now let's look at exactly what is HIIT. As the name suggest, HIIT consist of intervals of high intensity. Between each intense interval is either a less intense interval or rest.

Since you're going close to max effort, your intense intervals should be anywhere between ten to sixty seconds and your recovery interval should fall into a similar range or just a bit longer. And the reason for this in the science. During these high intensity intervals, you're actually using the anaerobic energy pathway which burns glucose. During and after the intense bouts, your body develops metabolites from the anaerobic process like Pyruvate and Lactate, that will be shuttled along with Oxygen and Fat to replenish energy. In essence, you're burning a bunch of glucose during the intense activity and burning fat during recovery. And then there's a little thing called "EPOC" short for "Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption." After HIIT workouts, your body continues to take in more oxygen, thus burn more calories in order to restore the body and muscles back to its pre-exercise state.

In fact, the elevated EPOC is hypothesised to be the main reason HIIT workouts only have to last a fraction of the time as traditional cardio to achieve similar weight loss, since you're still burning calories after the workout. A basic example of HIIT is twenty rounds of thirty seconds near-max effort sprinting paired with thirty seconds of walking in between. That's only ten minutes total excluding any warmups and cooldowns. There's also the "Tabata Protocol" which is an even shorter workout lasting four minutes for eight rounds of twenty seconds high intensity intervals and ten seconds breaks.

And don't limit yourself to just sprints. You can also do other metabolically demanding exercises like rowing, battle ropes and kettle bell swings. Of course, based on your fitness level, you can also adjust the duration of your intervals. The more fit you are, the longer your work intervals can be and/or shorter you can rest. But there is a caveat to HIIT. As with any intense workouts, whether its lifting heavy weights or sprinting, in order for your body to adapt to the training stimulus, you need adequate recovery. If you do consider doing HIITs, make sure you get at least a whole day of rest before going at it again. Better yet, you can do a lighter workout like traditional cardio, between your HIIT sessions to maximize your results.

In today's hectic lifestyles, it's tough to find time just to yourself let alone find time to exercise. But, pretty much all of us have some fitness or health goal, especially weight loss. So, instead of spending time doing hours and hours of cardio, consider doing High Intensity Interval Training. Or better yet, do both. In the end, you're saving time while you're trying to look "fine."


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