Is HIIT Cardio Really Better Than Low-Intensity Cardio?

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Is HIIT Cardio Really Better Than Low-Intensity Cardio?

Some fitness celebrities claim that HIIT is the best way to perform cardio for fat loss. They say regular cardio is a waste of time.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) involves interspersing short (15-25 seconds) but brutally hard intervals with somewhat longer (40-60 seconds) but easier “recovery” intervals for a total time of 15-30 minutes per session.  HIIT training can be performed outside (all-out sprints paired with easy jogs) on any piece of cardio equipment, or even using a sled/Prowler.

The main advantage to HIIT training is the amount of fat burned in the hours after the session, as the body recovers from the stress of HIIT.  Compare that with LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) or MISS (Medium Intensity Steady State) cardio, where the fat-burning effects of the activity cease when the session ends.

Some people get amazing results from HIIT.  Others don’t.  In some cases, these folks are unable or unwilling to perform the intervals as hard as required.  Others find HIIT too intense to recover from, especially if they’re doing a lot of heavy weight training or other intense exercise.

Good, old-fashioned steady-state cardio still has an important place in a fat-loss program.  Intelligently combining HIIT and steady-state – something many competitive bodybuilders do to get super-ripped — might be the best approach.