HIIT vs. Traditional Cardio vs. Walking
Recently I got a text from a friend asking for my opinion on HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training.
HIIT is a type of exercise where you do really intense activity for a brief period of time followed by a period of rest. This is repeated several times.
An example would be doing sprints:
Sprint for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.
Research shows HIIT is just as effective at burning fat and improving your health as traditional cardio, and it takes less than half the time!
So why don't we all do HIIT to get lean and healthy?
It's honestly not a bad option. It's just not the best. Not necessarily any way.
Today I want to consider 3 types of "cardio" and what you should do to achieve your fitness goals: 1. HIIT 2. Traditional Cardio 3. Walking
The first thing we need to ask is "Why Do Cardio At All? How Will it Help Me?"
If your goal is health You don't need to do Cardio. Not in the traditional sense. Walking is more than enough to keep you healthy! If your goal is strictly health-related... walk.
If your goal is performance
You need to be in good enough shape to do whatever it is you want to do.
What do I mean?
Want energy to play with your kids or grandkids? Awesome, lifting and walking is all you need.
Want to run a marathon? You better follow a regimented running plan!
Want something in between? Running a 5k, playing pick-up sports with your buddies, or something else? Then do the appropriate amount of Cardio needed to achieve that goal. But no more.
If your goal is aesthetics
Your primary concern should be lifting weights, cleaning up your diet, and walking. That's all you need!
If you don't have a goal related to Cardio but you love running, biking, swimming,etc.
Go for it! I'd never tell you to stop doing what you love. In fact, I'd encourage you to do more of it!
For the rest of this post, I'm going to focus on Health and Aesthetics because that's what the majority of people I work with want.
If you want to be lean, strong, and healthy and have good endurance but don't plan to run a 5k any time soon, ditch the cardio.
I could end the article here, but what if you're already lifting weights 3 days per week, walking 10,000 steps per day, and consuming the right quality and quantity of foods?
If you're doing that you're seeing amazing results. I can promise you that.
But if you want to speed up the process even more and you've got the extra time, energy, and motivation... throw in some extra cardio!
But what kind of Cardio? HIIT or Traditional Cardio?
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, HIIT gets you the same results as traditional cardio in less than half the time. Most people report it's more fun too. (I agree!)
But it comes with a cost. HIIT is harder to recover from than Traditional Cardio. Now if you've got plenty of extra energy you'll likely easily recover from 1-2 HIIT sessions per week.
If you don't have the extra energy, then you can do Traditional Cardio instead. It's still effective and it's not as taxing on the body.
Hold on though. There's one thing that's even more important than deciding which form of Cardio is best for your goals.
You ought to consider what you love.
If you love it, you'll do it. If you hate it, you won't do it. Simple as that.
Do what you love! That includes how you lift weights. There are a lot of options out there, so try a few and choose one you enjoy the most.
Here's a quick recap:
If you want to get lean, strong, and healthy and don't plan on competing in a 5k or something similar any time soon, just lift weights 3 days per week, walk 10,000 steps per day, and clean up your diet. You'll easily lose a dress/pant size every 3 months. Sometimes even faster.
If you want to do even more, toss in some HIIT or Traditional Cardio 1-2 times per week. Which one you choose is up to you!
If you need to be in shape for some sort of athletic competition, that's out of my area of expertise. The only advice I have is do enough Cardio to be in good shape for your event, but don't do any more than that.
Hope that helps all you Cardio Queens out there ;)
But hey, if you're ready to give up your Cardio Queen status and radically improve your strength and body, click here and fill out the form. I'd love to hear about your goals and tell you about our program.
By the way, we're only accepting 12 new clients this month so don't delay!
Want to shortcut the line? Text/Call Me at 205-705-9591.
P.S.- Look at what happened when Tracy ditched her Cardio Queen status and started lifting :)
Ready to get results? Click here and fill out the form or call/text me at 205-705-9591.