Are you looking to lose weight but aren’t sure where to start?
With around 27 million Filipinos overweight or obese, weight loss is among the most common fitness goals you’d hear your coworkers have for the new year.
With that in mind, HIIT vs steady-state cardio always comes up when deciding what approach to take.
As a busy professional, this topic becomes even more difficult as time constraints also play a key role when deciding which approach to take. With deadlines to meet and logistics to consider, finding the right approach for your lifestyle is crucial.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training or (HIIT) is a form of cardio that’s been gaining popularity for the past few years, mainly due to its perceived fat-burning and time-saving benefits.
With HIIT involving bursts of intense exercise followed by a short rest period, this can definitely be an efficient way of structuring your workouts to get the most work done in the shortest amount of time – perfect if you have to get a workout in first thing in the morning or during lunch break.
While HIIT can be a very effective time-saver, this will not necessarily lead to burning more calories than other forms of cardio.
Yes, HIIT-style training will speed up your metabolism and make you burn more calories even after the workout itself, but the effect has been overemphasized, as shown by a 2016 study.
The study compared sprint interval training to steady-state cardio and found that the “HIIT”-style protocol only led to an additional 46 calories burned (110 vs 64 calories respectively); nowhere near what most think.
On the flip side, steady-state cardio is another form of exercise popular among those looking to lose weight.
Unlike HIIT, this involves low to moderate-intensity, but prolonged bouts of exercise; also with its own pros and cons.
Steady-state cardio will take much more time to complete than a HIIT-style workout; you may have to do this after work and set 45-60 minutes aside to go for a walk, bike or jog.
Both HIIT and steady-state cardio are great options to burn extra calories. However, this is more beginner-friendly and may even burn slightly more calories than a HIIT session as shown by another 2016 study.
Which One Is Right For ME?
There is no “right” way of doing cardio, and both protocols can be effective tools for fat loss (1), (2).
Here are some factors to consider when picking which approach is right for you:
#1 How much time do you have?
How much time do you have in a day to get your workout in is the first thing you have to consider when choosing what to do.
Are you someone who can only dedicate less than an hour per day to your workouts? If so then you may consider HIIT, which requires 13-58 percent less time to get similar results as steady-state cardio. Another estimate places this at 40 percent less time – a major plus if you and your team work from 8am-5pm.
#2 What else are you doing other than cardio?
What other forms of exercise do you do outside of your cardio sessions? Do you play any sports? These are both considerations when deciding how much HIIT you do.
Similar to conventional weight training, HIIT may also be used to build muscle; making it a great choice should you only have one form of exercise.
HIIT, however, may interfere with recovery when combined with separate weight training sessions.
#3 What sport/s do you play?
Just like the amount of resistance training you do, the type and amount of sports you play will determine how and when you can do HIIT since we have to consider your ability to recover.
Someone who actively plays Basketball on top of strength training for example, will have to be smart about placing HIIT in their routine.
#4 What do you enjoy doing?
You can have the best, most science-based program and still not get the results you want if you don’t put in the work. Consistency will be the biggest factor for success.
The best program’s the one you can stick to, and we have to consider which type of training you enjoy more.
The answer to this will be highly individual, but some research suggests that people tend to enjoy HIIT more when compared to steady-state cardio.
Both HIIT and low to moderate-intensity cardio are effective tools for fat loss that we, as busy professionals, can use. Both have their pros and cons.
Consider your fitness goals, availability, fitness eleven, and personal preferences when picking your approach.
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