This topic is a fairly popular one these days.   Some people believe steady state cardio is the only way to help shed those unwanted pounds.  Others believe that High Intensity Interval Training is the only way to go.  Some folks are in between.  And some think you shouldn’t do any cardio at all.  I’m more of an in between guy.  Here’s why…

Benefits of Steady State Cardio

Let me first start off by saying I really don’t endorse steady state cardio beyond 30 minutes, unless it’s once in a blue moon.  Once you get past that 30 minute marker, your body starts recruiting from your lean body mass for it’s energy, which in turn, hurts your body’s ability to burn calories more efficiently.  Excessive Long Distance Cardio = Flabby Body, ’nuff said.  With that said, I do believe steady state cardio at a 20 – 30 minute clip is useful in small doses for shedding fat and building cardiovascular endurance.  Try to incorporate Steady State Cardio into 1 or 2 days, max, of your weekly routine.

Benefits of HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to finish a workout or get a workout in between lift days.  HIIT will challenge you by working in a jog/sprint format, keeping your heart rate elevated for anywhere between 7:00 – 22:00 depending on your level of fitness.

Try to incorporate HIIT into your program 2-4 times a week, depending on how many days you’re doing Steady State Cardio.

The Winner!

If you have to pick one or the other, I would definitely go with HIIT.  It’s much more efficient for your body in terms of burning fat vs. tearing down lean body mass.  I’d rather end up on a side leaning more towards the sprinter, rather than the broken down, lean mass depleted marathoner.Remember, the more lean body mass you have, the more efficient your body will be to shed those extra fat cells hanging on to your hips and belly.  Going off of a 3 day a week program, here’s what would be an ideal set up:

Monday:  Total Body Lift

Tuesday:  HIIT – 3 Intervals

Wednesday:  Total Body Lift, HIIT – 1 Interval

Thursday:  HIIT – 2 Intervals

Friday:  Total Body Lift

Saturday:  Steady State Cardio, 20 Minutes, 60-70% of Max HR

Sunday:  Sunday Phunday, relax!

1 interval of HIIT should look like this if you’re just starting:

  • 1:30 @ 5.0, :30 @ 6.5
  • 1:30 @ 5.0, :30 @ 7.5
  • 1:30 @ 5.0, :30 @ 8.5
  • :30 @ 5.0, :30 @ 6.5
  • If you were to start a second interval, you would move on to a 1:30 @ 5.0, :30 @ 7.5 split, and work your way through the circuit again.

Remember, this is just a baseline idea of HIIT.  For some, you may need the intensity ramped up.  For others, you may need to dial it down a bit.  Find your range and add this to your program today to start shedding that unwanted fat!

For any questions, comments, or inquiries, you can email the BucksFit team at [email protected].  To reach Chris, email at ckur[email protected].  Thanks for stopping by and have a great Tuesday!