Feb 28 2016
When most people think of cardio, they think, running on the treadmill for endless hours, or sitting on the stationary bike, bored out their minds. They see those posters on the gym walls “Keep your heart rate between this number and that”, and so they stick to this, and where does it get them? Nowhere.
So what’s the best way to burn fat?
You’re looking for maximum fat loss right? Ok, well instead of joining the rest of the guys doing steady state cardio let’s step in to the world of High Intensity Interval Training, and really start getting shredded!
“Ok, I’m ready, but what is HIIT?”
Alternating between intense sprints and short rests is one of the best ways to burn the most amount of fat, not only this, it will save you time in the gym or out on the road as the sessions are much shorter. For a typical steady state cardio session you may be doing 40 to 60 minutes, wheras a HIIT cardio sessions can be as little as 20 minutes, with more fat loss!
An example of a HIIT session would be, on the road, sprint as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then walk for 40 seconds, and repeat 10 to 20 times. This can be done on most pieces of cardio equipment, such as bikes, rowing machines, or the elliptical.
Another major benefit to doing HIIT training is it increases your EPOC (Excess-post exercise oxygen consumption), that’s just a fancy way of saying; you burn more calories after you finish the cardio session. Your metabolism is increased for up to 24 hours, therefore your body will continue to burn fat for an entire day after you did your HIIT session. Another surprising benefit is that doing HIIT will help supress your hunger, or, you won’t be as hungry as if you did steady state cardio, this will help you control your diet and in turn burn more fat.
Making the switch
Ok, so you’re convinced that HIIT is the only way now, but you want to know where to start. If your severely over weight then doing HIIT is not a good idea, start with steady state cardio until your down to a weight or healthy enough to perform more intense forms of exercise. If you are able to perform cardio at 80% + of your max heart rate, here is how you should start.
Start slow, don’t try and do too much straight out of the gate. For example, if you enjoy road running:
- Warm-up for 5 minutes
- Sprint for 30 seconds
- Walk for 60 seconds
- Repeat this 5 to 10 times
As you increase in physical fitness you should be able to sprint for longer durations and rest less.
HIIT is the best form of cardio if you want maximum fat loss as fast as possible. If you enjoy doing steady state cardio you can still do that, taking a long jog or cycle once a week in addition to your HIIT sessions can be beneficial, but a bulk of your training should be short and intense if you’re really looking at getting shredded!