The benefits of High Intensity Cardio
Did you know you can easily burn more fat by doing high intensity cardio? Cardio gets a bad rap; it's boring and repetitive and for the most part most people think their done as soon as they break a sweat. Doing any cardio is certainly better than doing none at all. I'll agree, cardio is boring and certainly not as interesting or exciting as weight training. At least with weight training you are constantly doing different moves and are being challenged to keep you interested and motivated.
Less can be said of cardio. You get on the bike (or treadmill, or whatever) and start your movement. After a fixed number of minutes you get off, cardio is done.. Boring!!
The human body is engineered as a stop and go machine. We do much better with short bursts of activity followed by rest periods, it's just the way we are..
The two different types of cardio
..................High intensity cardio and low intensity cardio
Low intensity cardio is simply, as I said above, getting on the piece of equipment of your choice and doing whatever movement until your time is up. Sure you'll burn some calories, but the calorie burning stops pretty much the moment you get off the machine.
High intensity cardio on the other hand is when you do periods of hard work, followed immediately by a period of low intensity cardio. You alternate high intensity with low intensity for a much shorter overall period of time.
I lift weights, I don't really need to do cardio do I?
The fact is most people try to come up with excuses as to why they don't need to do any cardio at all. Take a look at the benefits of doing cardio below..
- More daily energy
- Lower stress levels
- Lower body fat percentage
- Improved circulation
- Increased endurance
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower resting heart rate
The benefits of doing cardio are indisputable, there's simply no valid reason not to do it, and when it comes to doing cadio, nothing will help you burn more fat and get more benefits than high intensity cardio.
Why do people do low intensity cardio when high intensity cardio is better?
There are a few reasons why people might choose to do low intensity cardio and not high intensity cardio.
- It's really easy. People who may be overweight may not have the stamina or energy to do high intensity cardio. In this case low intensity cardio is the better choice.
- There isn't much health risk. You really can't go wrong by doing low intensity cardio, even a person seriously out of shape can at least start off by doing a long walk.
- You'll burn more fat calories. Low intensity cardio burns about 50% fat calories whereas high intensity cardio burns about 40%. I'll explain why HIT is still better later.
How does High intensity cardio help me burn more fat?
Well, when you do high intensity cardio it's true you only burn 40% as opposed to 50% fat calories when you do low intensity cardio, but let's look at the 'real' numbers.
Lets say you do a nice jog for say 20 minutes and burn 100 calories, so you burned 50% of 100 or 50 fat calories.
If you do high intensity cardio for say 10 minutes and burn 160 calories, 40% of 160 is 64 fat calories. You'll burn more fat calories in 1/2 the time.
Looks pretty good doesn't it, but wait, there's more...
Now here's the important part as to why high intensity cardio will help you burn more fat...
With low intensity cardio your fat burning stops pretty much as soon as you stop the cardio movement. With high intensity cardio your metabolism will stay elevated for long after (sometimes up to 24 hours) you've finished your workout. With a higher metabolism you'll burn more calories throughout the day. And that means you'll burn more fat.
High intensity cardio will also help you build lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass burns calories even when not in action, again, adding to your calorie burning long after you've finished your workout.
I want to burn more fat, how do I do high intensity cardio??
So to burn more fat you need to start doing high intensity cardio, the easiest way to start this type of training is to select the 'interval training' setting on your piece of cardio equipment of choice. If you don't have this setting then get a watch or timer and just alternate say 30 seconds at sprint level followed by 30 seconds at a walking level.
You don't have to do 30/30. I often just do 2 minutes of high intensity followed by 3 minutes of low intensity (cool down), I'll do maybe 3 'sets' of this for a total of 15 minutes. It's really your choice how you break it down.
When just starting out you can even do maybe 30 seconds and 2 minutes until you get used to it. The important thing to remember is that when the high intensity part comes you need to push yourself to the limit, break a sweat, make those legs hurt. You'll have a chance to recover.
Get some motivational music going. I guarantee doing high intensity training will absolutely help you burn more fat then you ever have before when doing cardio.
If you ask most people they'll say that they hate doing cardio. High intensity cardio allows you to get better results in less time, what's not to love about that?
If you're really serious about getting into great shape and losing fat I highly suggest reading the Turbulance training program, it'll help you burn more fat very quickly
Obviously before starting any exercise or diet program you'll want to consult with a physician, it's the right thing to do.