Are you the person who gets on the treadmill and does a nice easy-paced jog for an hour? Are you proud when you see that you burned 1,000 calories in an hour? Bad news on two fronts…you wasted a lot more time than you needed to and you didn’t really burn 1,000 calories.
Cardio machines are notoriously bad at estimating how many calories you burn in a given period of time. Even with an intense workout, 500-600 calories per hour is probably the most you will burn. What’s the most efficient way to burn those calories? High intensity interval training combined with steady state cardio as recommended in Visual Impact Cardio.
Commonly referred to as HIIT, high intensity interval training involves periods of maximum effort combined with recovery periods of reduced effort. For example, you may sprint for 30 seconds and walk for 1 minute. The benefit of this type of cardio is that you have a significant after burn effect (EPOC) in which your body continues to burn calories well after your workout ends. You have to use caution in utilizing HIIT as you can quickly over train, something that doesn’t happen with steady state cardio.
Steady State Cardio
Steady state cardio involves performing aerobic activity at a constant speed for a long period of time. It can have a valuable role in fat burning but only if you perform for long enough (1-2 hours). If you’re looking for a time-efficient workout, it should only be done in conjunction with HIIT. The great part about HIIT is that it releases fatty acids into the bloodstream. Steady state cardio burns those fatty acids. If you try to do steady state cardio without HIIT, it could take 20-30 minutes just to begin releasing those fatty acids. A short HIIT workout will flood your system with fatty acids that steady state cardio can easily burn.
The Best Routine Involves HIIT and Steady State
My preferred cardio routine involves 10 minutes of HIIT, 25 minutes of steady state, and another 10 minutes of lower intensity HIIT. For the first 10 minutes, I warm up for 2 minutes and then do 15 second sprints with 45 second jogging intervals for 8 minutes. I prefer to perform an all out sprint that leaves me gasping for breath and results in increased HGH levels. You should tone down the intensity if you are not used to performing HIIT.
I then do 25 minutes of steady state cardio to burn the fatty acids that HIIT released into my bloodstream. Finally, I conclude with a less intense version of HIIT where I do 1 minute of fast paced jogging followed by 1 minute of light jogging for 10 minutes. This type of interval training burns up any remaining glycogen in my system to allow my body to burn even more fat after my workout.
Better Results, Less Time
By doing a workout similar to the one above, you can really burn a lot of fat. It’s a 45 minute routine but the after burn effect can really kick up the calorie burning. If you don’t have time for a 45 minute workout, you could simply do 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio. If you’d like a more complete routine, consider the program outlined in Visual Impact Cardio.
Not Your Average Fitness Tips
- HIIT is great for releasing fatty acids into the system and provides a calorie burning after effect.
- Steady state cardio is very poor at releasing fatty acids into your bloodstream but great for burning fatty acids once they get there.
- Try combining the approaches for an optimal effect: HIIT followed by steady state cardio. As a bonus, throw in some longer interval HIIT at the end to really reduce glycogen levels to let your body burn fat.
- The Best Cardio For Weight Loss: A HIIT Workout Routine to Burn Belly Fat Fast
- Advanced HIIT Training: High Intensity Interval Training Workouts
- Benefits of a Low Intensity Cardio Workout for Fat Loss
- Intense Home Workout: Strength Training Routine and HIIT Routine
- Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Low Intensity vs High Intensity