Cardio is considered one of the best technique to improve your heart. The first thing many people do in the quest to get Leaner is start jogging or straight away running on a treadmill.
There is a myth and most of us believe that cardiovascular exercise paired with eating nothing but salad is the key to fat loss. In the context of optimizing body composition, cardio needs to be treated as a tool for fat loss more so than an aggressive necessity.
When we start with an overly aggressive cardio strategy we won’t have much room to adjust once we plateau.
Not only does nobody want to spend 2 hours of their day doing cardio, excessive cardio can interfere with the positive effects that come with weight/resistance training.
HIIT [High Intensity Interval Training]
HIIT is a system of organizing cardiorespiratory training which calls for repeated bouts of short duration, high-intensity exercise intervals intermingled with periods of lower-intensity intervals of active recovery. Advantages of doing HIIT are listed below:
- HIIT lasts 20 minutes or less – resulting in a short workout time nearly anyone can integrate into their lifestyle.
- HIIT can increase VO2 max for both high intensity and endurance athletes. VO2 max is the max amount of oxygen a person can use and transport during exercise. You want this number to be high because it enables you to use more fat as fuel instead of glucose. Since our fat stores tend to be much higher than glycogen stores, it is preferential to be able to get the highest percentage of fuel from fat during exercise. While sprinting uses a high amount of glycogen because it is such high intensity, the rate at which you change from fat burning to sugar burning is higher in individuals with a higher VO2 max.
- HIIT increases EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) resulting in an elevated fat loss state for up to 24 hours after you finish your workout – something you won’t get from lower intensity exercise.
- HIIT trains the body to effectively remove metabolic waste from the muscles between intervals. By quickly removing lactate and other by-products resulting from high intensity exercise, you enable the body to be primed and ready for another bout of high-intensity exercise with less rest.
HIIT is one of the several ways to boost your testosterone and growth hormone level. Since these hormones are responsible for muscle gain and fat loss, one should incorporate HIIT in their Workouts.
HIIT CARDIO WORKOUT
You can do these workouts using tools, such as a jump rope, or simply doing jumping jacks, or sprinting, or working on a stationary cycle. Use your imagination. Just follow the work-to-rest intervals as indicated.
NOTE: Always begin with 5 min warmup.
- 20 seconds: High-intensity exercise (E.g. Sprint)
- 60 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise (E.g. Walk)
Total Time: 15 min.
LISS [Low Intensity Steady State Cardio]
Low-intensity cardio doesn’t have the acute metabolic benefits of high-intensity cardio, but it’s an easy way to chip away at calories throughout the week without adversely affecting your time lifting weights. LISS is a bit like spending money eating out. At the time, it doesn’t seem like much but at the end of the month it’s surprising how much you have spent.
How many calories does LISS burns?
The table below lists the calories burned by doing dozens of activities for 30 minutes and the numbers are based on an individual who weighs 185 pounds.
- HIIT and LISS both have a place in your training plan.
- Adherence, time, and recovery all need to be considered when structuring your cardiovascular strategy.
- Cardio not only has cardiovascular health benefits, but will help improve our ability to recover between sets and thus increase our work capacity.
- Creating a caloric deficit is what’s most important in getting leaner. Cardio is a tool to HELP accomplish this, and not a necessity.