With all the confusion surrounding cardio which is the best, should you go long and slow or short and fast high intensity…. ‘What to do?’, as they would say in an Indian Bollywood flick. If you’ve read any of my other posts then you will probably know what I’m going to say…. It depends on your circumstances. If you are seriously overweight and the only exercise you’ve done in the last few years is push the remote button on your TV handset then going High Intensity is probably getting a bit too ambitious. As desperate as you might be to shed the fat as fast as possible you have to use some common sense.
Let’s look at both types of cardio and their pros and cons.
Burns lots of calories during the session and calorie expenditure is increased even after training resulting in increased fat loss and improved cardiovascular fitness. Did I mention the massive dose of serotonin release you get too, leaving you feeling euphoric hours after. You should definitely try and squeeze two to three sessions of HIIT in your training routine. HIIT is all the rave and is ‘The Secret’ behind some of the most popular training programs like Shaun T’s INSANITY MAX:30 Base Kit – DVD Workout.
If you’re working to gain muscle, weight training a few times a week and doing HIIT can be too demanding on your body (i.e. joints) and central nervous system. This can be detrimental and the last thing you want is to injure yourself and unable to train for a days, weeks or even months.
Steady State/Low intensity cardio
Steady state cardio is perfect for recovery days and can actually assist with recovery by getting the blood circulating better. I often go for nice relaxing walks to unwind, whilst listening to an audiobook or something else of interest. I highly recommend you do the same. It can be quite therapeutic.
What To Expect
Your fitness journey will probably go something like this: When you first start training you’ll run out of breath and your heart rate will quickly shoot up real high which will cause you to slow down or stop, however as your fitness improves especially if you’re working steady state on machines using the same muscles, you will find your muscles will tire and ache much before you’re out of breath. It helps to bare this in mind. Then as your fitness level and muscle endurance improves you will be able to train for longer and harder and that’s what you want to achieve.
If you are very overweight start with Slow and Steady or Low Intensity cardio that is low impact and easy on the joints because it makes no sense to injure yourself in the road to getting fit and healthy and focus mainly on your diet. Even after you become a seasoned athlete limit HIIT training to two or three 20 to 30 minute sessions a week. Squeeze in steady state or low impact low intensity training on your rest days to aid in faster recovery whilst still burning calories giving you a double benefit. There you go, that’s it don’t just follow the crowd learn and grow your mind.
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