Cardio – Five Ways To Lose Fat Quickly and Efficiently

The wellness industry has become big business. There are all kinds of supplements and remedies being advertised as miracle weight-loss drugs. The truth is none of the weight lost this way is sustainable. Gaining weight is based on a few factors. Lifestyle, diet, and genetics. Perform an honest assessment in these three areas to determine where adjustments need to be made in order to lose weight. Increased metabolism is something you are born with, but if you live a sedentary lifestyle and have a poor diet, you will eventually gain weight. Living an active lifestyle can sometimes lead to a poor diet which can affect the rate of weight gain or loss. Dieting alone may allow you to shed a few pounds but if their isn’t a lifestyle change, those pounds may come creeping back.

Being careful about the fuel we feed our body makes a huge difference in how quickly we reach our weight-loss goals. In addition to changing what we eat, a disciplined work out routine is necessary. The three C’s of losing weight are cardio, calories and consistency. Doing cardio will help burn fat while counting calories makes sure we do not consume more than we burn off. With anything in life, consistency is the key to success. Burn the fat before starting weight training program, you will build muscle under the fat. Being consistent in your work out and dietary adjustment will guarantee the results your want to see.

The human body is an amazing machine. It picks up on routines and adjusts accordingly. This process is called muscle memory. Being consistent in doing cardio is necessary but we have to remember not to get caught up in exercise routines. For example: running on the treadmill for 30 minutes everyday at 5 mile per hour may only work for one month or so. After a month, your body will adjust to this routine and you will burn fewer calories. Try increasing the time you are running or increasing the speed.

Five Things to Speed Up Your Fat Loss

1. Running is good for you, but not every day.

Running every day is hard on your joints whether it is outside, on pavement, or on a treadmill. Mix up your cardio routine with other cardio exercises.

2. Interval training is good for you.

On the treadmill, elliptical or bicycle, alternate high intensity with low intensity in one minute intervals. As your endurance improves, increase the intensity.

3. Shake things up with incorporating Cardio Blasts into your routine.

Running in place, jumping jacks, jump rope, burpees are all good cardio blast exercises. Blasting for 15 minutes is just as effective as 30 minutes on the treadmill.

4. Add one aerobics class per week

One hour of Zumba can burn 500-1000 calories and Zumba is fun. It gives you a change of scenery as well. We don’t want to get bored with our work out routine.

5. Don’t forget to stretch.

Stretching is just as important as the workout itself. It prevents injury and increase your athletic abilities. Sports injuries can really stifle your routine because you will have to slow down to recover. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

When trying to shed pounds, start with the three C’s: cardio, calories, and consistency. Shed the fat with cardio before diving into weight training. Mix up your cardio routine and remember to stretch.

 

HIIT Vs Steady State – Which Type of Cardio Is Better?

This is a very popular topic in fitness when it comes to cardiovascular workouts. Most people ask me which form of cardio will yield the best results. Before I jump to my recommendation, I would like to outline the pros and cons of each style.

First off, let’s start with Steady State Cardio. This is probably the most popular form of cardiovascular activity. In Steady State Cardio, your perceived exertion is low to moderate difficulty over a period of at least 30 minutes. Examples include running/walking/jogging on a treadmill without stopping, running a marathon, hiking, etc. Your heart rate is usually 55-70% of your Projected Heart Rate Max over the duration of your activity. While performing Steady State exercise, you are working your Type 1, slow-twitch muscle fibers which are involved in endurance activities and they do not tend to hypertrophy (grow) as much as your other muscle fibers. While the calories you burn doing Steady State Cardio are mostly from fat, you will not burn as many calories as you would doing Interval Training for the same period of time. Steady State Cardio does not elevate your metabolism post-exercise as well as Interval Training but is much easier on your joints. People of all ages are most likely to be able to perform Steady State Cardio consistently without much discomfort.

Next is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is growing in its popularity due to its shorter workout times. Most HIIT workouts last 20-30 minutes and are characterized by bursts of maximum activity followed by a short rest period before repeating the activity. Your perceived exertion is high during HIIT with your heart rate falling between 70-85% of your Projected Heart Rate Max. The most popular example of HIIT is running sprints. During HIIT, you are working the more powerful, more strength oriented type 2 muscle fibers which are more likely to hypertrophy (grow). Even though the percentage of the calories you burn during HIIT that come from fat is low, you will still end up burning more fat during your workout than a Steady State Cardio session of the same duration. You can also burn up to 100 more calories in the 24 hours following your HIIT workout. There are some things to watch out for with HIIT. For instance, you should not do HIIT more than 3 times per week as it is very taxing on your joints and nervous system. In addition to that, you are more likely to injure yourself if you did not properly warm up before performing HIIT since your muscles are pushed harder than in Steady State Cardio. It may also be more difficult for older adults to do HIIT since their joints are not as strong as they once were.

After reviewing the pros and cons of both HIIT and Steady State Cardio, I recommend that people should perform 2 days per week of HIIT and 3-4 days a week of Steady State Cardio to get the maximum health and fat burning benefit while preventing your body from breaking down from over working it. Your nervous system is often overlooked with people start a HIIT program and end up burning out early due to doing too many HIIT sessions.

 

Natural Techniques For Improving Cardiovascular Health

Understanding the cardiovascular system is relatively simple, thanks to it being a self-explanatory term! It can be easily dissected into its conjugating terms – cardio and vascular.

“Cardio” is the root word of cardiac and “vascular” is the adjective form of vessels. They refer to heart and blood vessels respectively, which are the primary constituents of the cardiovascular system. This system functions by transporting blood to the multitudinous cells of the body. Thus naturally, cardiovascular health refers to the healthy coordination of heart, blood vessels and blood.

It is the heart that initiates the cardiovascular performance by pumping blood. This pumped blood contains all the required oxygen, nutrients, hormones and WBCs that are to be conveyed to their respective destinations. This blood circulates through blood vessels, which serve as a medium for blood flow.

Thus, it is evident that cardiovascular health signifies an effortless blood flow. The route of blood is directed from heart toward organs, and reverse. Naturally, cardiovascular dysfunction causes cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Any disease related to heart or blood vessels is referred to as a CVD.

However, following a healthy lifestyle can prevent them. Proper measures, if taken, preserves cardiovascular health. There are plentiful natural techniques to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy Food

Diets low in triglycerides and cholesterol are advised for cardiovascular health. Healthy food is generally low in substances causing excessive fat deposition in arteries. Fats cause gradual thickening of artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Thickened arteries inhibit blood from reaching the heart. This unavoidably causes heart diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive cardiac failure, etc.

Light Exercise

Exercise and cardiovascular health share an age-old relationship. If a healthy diet is not feasible, exercising is a viable alternative. Where healthy food nips fat in the bud, exercises burn the already-consumed fat. This is another strategy to prevent atherosclerosis. As fats get burnt, they are unable to accumulate in artery walls, thus reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Tobacco smoking

Tobacco is the arch-rival of cardiovascular health. Smoking and junk food affect the heart in a similar manner. Atheroma is similar to atherosclerosis, except that it is an amalgamation of degenerative materials. Accumulation of this lipid mass causes heart diseases like angina, heart attack or stroke. Smoking also causes carbon monoxide to accumulate in blood, thus lowering its oxygen content. Further, nicotine stimulates adrenaline formation, which is an elevator for blood pressure.

Psychological Stress

Other than nicotine, even stress triggers adrenaline production. This accelerates breath, heart rate and blood pressure, all of which are pioneers of cardiovascular diseases. Stress may also influence people to take up smoking, boozing or overeating, which equally affects cardiovascular health.

Natural techniques are undoubtedly the best methods for cardiovascular health. If they could be practiced religiously, cardiovascular diseases would be perpetually eradicated. But unfortunately, this is only fundamentally possible. Since these natural health solutions cannot be practiced routinely, health supplements are the most constructive choice.

Natural cardiovascular health supplements provide adequate nourishment required for cardiovascular health. Grape seed extract and resveratrol are the best heart health solutions. Grape seed extract enhances blood circulation and prevents high cholesterol. On the other hand, resveratrol prevents risks of heart diseases by expanding blood vessels.

 

Obtain Optimal Health With Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardiovascular is related to the circulatory system wherein it contains the heart and blood vessels. It is where the oxygen is being transmitted to the body tissues and then takes away the carbon dioxide and other wastes.

We all have known that there are lots of people right now who are suffering from cardiovascular diseases. This is the condition where it primarily affects the blood vessels and heart. Some of the common diseases include congenital heart diseases, peripheral vascular system disorders, diseases that come from aorta, endocarditic, shock, orthostatic hypotension, hypertension, heart failure, arrhythmia, heart valve disease, coronary artery disease, and arteriosclerosis. If you have one of the above mentioned diseases, you better see your doctor so you will be examined thoroughly and be given proper medications. Whenever you are already physically fit, you can prevent these diseases by performing a daily exercises.

There are lots of exercises that you can choose from. But before you engage in any one of these exercises, you must first consult your doctor to find out if you’re allowed to perform such exercise. You may have some restrictions that might cause harm to your body if you do it without your doctor’s prescription. So, it is better to be safe than sorry. But if you already have your doctor’s approval, you may now choose from the wide variety of exercises your body can benefit from. You can do cardio at the gym, your house, or even outside. Doing cardio exercises in the gym is very good because they have all the equipment needed to boost your cardiovascular system, and a machine that will tone down your muscles. You can also do it at home; you just have to purchase some of the light equipment like a stability ball, dumbbells, etc. Even though your concentration can be divided here, at least you can exercise in your own way.

Because it is summer already, you can choose to do exercises outside. It is such a great idea to move your cardio workouts outside to take in some fresh air. There are different methods to choose from that can provide the best possible progress. It is true that our body can immediately adapt to any cardio exercises, therefore, if we mix it up with few variations of outside cardio, it could give us the best result we’d ever need. Because there are lots of cardiovascular methods like running the stairs, rollerblading, uphill rolling, swimming, beach running, hiking, rowing, beach volleyball, tennis, cycling, and a whole lot more, you just have to switch it regularly. It will prevent you from feeling bored. Choose one now and create an optimal change within you.

 

Exercises and Workouts – The Best Strength Building Cardio Workouts

Strength training is another way of saying “increasing muscle strength.” Strength training works by the phenomenon known as the overload principle. If you want to build up more strength in your body but aren’t so keen to start an actual strength training workout session, perhaps you may be wondering what cardio exercises you can include in your activity plan that will help you build up more strength.

Although cardio by nature is not ideal for building up muscular strength, when the right variation is carried out, it can help you gain more functional power in all you do. No cardio will ever compare to that of strength training, but with the right selection, you can come close.

Let’s go over the best strength building cardio workouts to consider…

1. Elliptical Training. The elliptical trainer, also known as a cross trainer, is a stationary exercise machine for building up cardio fitness and endurance while also giving you some muscular conditioning benefits.

As you can easily adjust the resistance level on these machines to meet your current strength levels, challenging you to grow stronger in the process, you should see excellent strength gains after not too long.

Furthermore, this machine will also work both the upper as well as the lower body, which is something few cardio models do.

2. Rowing. Rowing is another interesting cardio variation to consider adding to your activity plan if you want to gain strength. Here again, this one will help you gain strength in both your upper as well as your lower body while torching calories in the process. The number of calories you burn will be up to 50 percent higher, and you will strengthen almost all the muscles of your shoulders down to the muscles of your calves.

The more resistance you use, the greater the strength benefits you will see.

3. Cycling. Finally, consider adding cycling to your cardio action plan. While cycling will target your lower body, it will do very well to build strength. Cycling will exercise the major muscle groups in your legs. Your strength and endurance will be increased and as a bonus you will lose body fat and burn calories by increasing your heart rate. Here again, the higher the level of resistance you use, the greater the strengthening benefits will be in your quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings.

So keep these cardio variations in mind. If you hope to maximize your strength level, start focusing on these as often as you can.

Although managing Type 2 diabetes can be very challenging, it is not a condition you must just live with. Make simple changes to your daily routine – include exercise to help lower both your blood sugar levels and your weight.

 

Fasted Cardio or Fed State Cardio?

FASTED CARDIO VS FED STATE CARDIO

Which one is best?

Which one is going to help YOU get SHREDDED?

Well, the answer isn’t quite so black & white.

In fact, it’s best explained in a study done by Alan Aragon & Brad Schoenfeld.

“It has long been thought that performing aerobic exercise after an overnight fast accelerates the loss of body fat. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in fat mass & fat-free mass following four weeks of volume-equated fasted versus fed aerobic exercise in young women adhering to a hypocaloric diet/ calorie deficit.

Findings indicate that body composition changes associated with aerobic exercise in conjunction with a calorie deficit are similar regardless of whether or not an individual is fasted prior to training. Hence, those seeking to lose body fat conceivably can choose to train either before or after eating based on preference.”

Hmm…

So what’s the take home point?

Do what you prefer.

Yep, personal preference.

Personally, I find my performance is horrendous without eating, so I choose to perform any activity in a fed state.

That’s what works for me, so I stick to it.

My energy is higher & I have the ability to burn more calories as a consequence.

Which is why you should find what works for you.

Because we are all different.

We all have different likes & dislikes.

As such, it’s only natural to have different preferences when it comes to choosing what, if anything, we eat before we train.

THE GOOD NEWS

Is that science is on your side on this one, so just make sure your routine is working for you & be done with it.

There’s no need to draw out the process any longer – cardio is painful enough as it is without fretting over whether or not you should or shouldn’t be eating before you grind it out on the stairmaster.

Kidding, I don’t do stairmaster – but YOU might love it so if that’s your cardio of choice, then step on good sir/ madam!

Remember…

DO NOT confuse correlation with causation.

You won’t lose weight simply by performing or including cardio into your routine – you’ll be losing that weight because over the course of a day/ week/ month you’re eating less calories than you’re burning, and the cardio you’re doing might simply be assisting with this equation.

There is no need to overcomplicate the process of losing weight.

But if there is a certain method or approach that helps you with the energy balance (calories in vs calories out) then you should run with it.

Because the energy balance is KING, at the end of the day.

 

Why Crush Cardio Activity Is the Worthy One!

Looking to cut fat, lose some weight and tone your body? Is a trip to the gym nothing but a monotonous, dull hour spent in the cardio section?

Then, I have the perfect workout for you.

It is a workout which will help you break the monotony of sweating it out on the treadmill. This high intensity workout will have you sweating in no time. It will pump you up so much that you won’t stop even when your legs are aching. You just can’t have enough of this workout.

This super charged workout is Crush Cardio, introduced to the people of Delhi by Crush Fitness India. In their own words, “Fitness is a Dance Party”. And trust me, it’s a party you really want to attend!

The company came into being with the idea of making fitness fun and it has managed to do just that. The trainers are fitness enthusiasts, trained dancers and dream chasers. They have come to the Capital City with the hope of making it a fitter place. Dance is their major weapon, and they teach you how to use it to defeat your enemy and reach your goal.

Crush Cardio is a high powered workout. Think about the intensity of all weight loss exercises mashed up and squeezed into one 60 minute workouts. With workout plans available for people with all kinds of fitness goals (weight loss, muscle growth, increased athletic stamina), they are proving to be a trusted fitness solution for many. It has also proven to be a good muscle building workout. It moves your entire body, and works every muscle to thumping, fist pumping dance music. Being a full body workout, it is a complete fitness solution with a dynamic approach. If running on the treadmill is not exciting for you anymore, then this rumbling-bumbling workout will shake things up for you pretty well. The best part is that each workout will prove to be a different experience.

If you are up for this roller coaster of a workout, this sweat drenched party, then sign up for it. Delhi-ites are dancing their way to fitness at some of the most premium studios in the city.

Dance it out with some of the best gyms throughout the city with these trainers. You will find available Crush Cardio slots at popular gyms and studios like Olympia Gym, iFitness, Elemention, Studio 60, the Hype Gym, Metabolix and many others.

 

A Guide To Cardio Training

Every person who wants to achieve weight loss desires a cardio program that will help him or her achieve this goal. After undertaking this program for a while, it is common for every person to wonder if the training is actually effective in reaching his or her objectives. If you think the cardio program is not as effective as you want it to be, it is time to make some modifications and take the necessary steps to achieve your weight loss goals. There is no doubt that cardiovascular exercises are one of the best methods to help burn fats from your body. However, most people do not have a clue on what is included in such type of a training program.

The large amount of information available on the World Wide Web may be confusing and making it more difficult for you to find an appropriate training. Unlike during the past when aerobic training was an effective cardio workout, currently it should be your last choice unless you are training to become a cross-country running professional. Therefore, if you want to see effective weight loss and burn more calories, it is important to adopt a high-intensity workout regime to witness the actual gains of cardiovascular training programs. Adopting these workouts will help you burn two to three times more amount of calories in a shorter time. Anaerobic cardiovascular exercises are beneficial in building leaner muscle mass, which cannot be achieved with aerobic workouts. Building muscle mass is the best way to fight the buildup of body fats.

For long-term benefits, development of muscle is vital and this is something that can never be achieved with simple aerobic workouts. Therefore, if you continue an aerobic regime, you may be disheartened to know that the possibility of regaining all the fat you shed is highly probable. This is because such regimes do not provide the stable muscular structure that is required to defend your body against fatty deposits. This is why any person who wants to lose weight seriously and get rid of fat, adopting high-intensity cardiovascular exercise training is absolutely vital.

At this point, you probably want to know how to develop your own cardiovascular workout regime to achieve your weight loss target. For beginners, sprinting is one of the most effective and simplest cardio workouts that are available. Sprint training programs are an excellent method to develop an effective and reliable base for adopting more difficult workouts at a later stage. After you complete the conventional sprint training, you can increase the intensity by including resistance sprinting, interval sprints, and hill sprinting programs.

In addition to sprint training, individuals can adopt numerous other high-intensity cardio methods to achieve their desired weight loss. Some of these regimes include polymeric, body weight circuit systems, agility training, and suicides. All these exercise routines are beneficial in the development of muscle mass while burning the extra fats from your body. Clearly, if you want to achieve permanent and real weight loss, it is recommended you begin your own cardiovascular training program and see the positive results quicker.

 

Steady State, HIIT, Or LISS Cardio? What Are They And What Do They Mean?

What is HIIT? What is LISS? What is steady state? Trying to keep up with the newest fitness trends is a challenge these days. Today I would like to clear up a few of the most common types of cardio. Ever been exhausted from walking up stairs or doing yard work? Starting some form of cardio is bound to improve your everyday life. Doing cardio has been known to help depression, anxiety, and many other health factors that many of us suffer from daily. Being an online personal trainer I custom tailor exercise programs for my clients based off their fitness goals.

The programs that I design for my clients will always have some form of cardio in it at some point. Cardio should always be apart of any fitness program. The most common question I get when my clients get their program is, what does HIIT mean? What is LISS? What is steady state? These are fitness terms us fit freaks always use. If your new to the fitness world all these terms will be quite confusing. Which is why I decided to write this article to help clear things up a bit. I’m not going to go into great detail or science on each form of cardio as this article is for people new to fitness and could start to confuse you. Better to keep things simple and to the point!

STEADY STATE CARDIO:

Steady State is when you exercise at a steady pace for an extended period of time. It’s the most common form of cardio to this day. Steady state will have you using about 65% of your max heart rate. Normally steady state cardio last for a period greater than 30 minutes at a time. Here are a few different types of steady state cardio.

  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical
  • Stair Climber

BENEFITS OF STEADY STATE CARDIO.

Besides that steady state cardio helps reduce fat cells in the body by using stored energy (fat) for fuel its also great to build up endurance. A greater endurance is something we all can benefit from as it can make everyday life easier.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF STEADY STATE FOR YOU?

Choosing the right type of steady state cardio is really easy if you think about it. What’s your favorite outdoor activity? Jogging, running, getting on your bike and going for a ride? All of these done for an extended period of time is steady state cardio. If you rather perform indoors then the local gym is full of equipment that can help you out!

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M DOING IT RIGHT?

Steady state cardio shouldn’t be a walk in the park, it should be intense to an extent. The golden rule for steady state is if you’re able to carry on conversation with the person next to you then you might want to up the intensity a little.

HIIT CARDIO (High Intensity Interval Training)

To answer the question so many people ask me, what does HIIT mean? To answer the question, High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a form of cardio that is all out burst of 90-100% maximum capacity followed by a period of sometimes active rest. If you’re in a pinch for time then this is a great alternative because you can get a good cardio session in within about 15-20 minutes. Here is an example of HIIT cardio. This type of training will have you using about 85% or more of your max heart rate. An example of HIIT is.

  • Cycle 40 seconds at a RPM of 40
  • Cycle 20 seconds at a RPM of over 100
  • Cycle 40 seconds at a RPM of 40
  • Cycle 20 seconds at a RPM of over 100
  • Cycle 40 seconds at a RPM of 40
  • Cycle 20 seconds at a RPM of over 100
  • Cycle 40 seconds at a RPM of 40
  • Cycle 20 seconds at a RPM of over 100
  • Rest 2 minutes then repeat 3-4 times

BENEFITS OF HIIT CARDIO.

Just like steady state cardio HIIT helps reduce fat cells in the body by using stored energy (fat) for fuel. Another benefit from doing HIIT is time. If you’re always on the go, limited on time, and has to out workout within 45 minutes then you might want to consider trying HIIT. Most of the HIIT routines are anywhere from 15-30 minutes long. Not to mention HIIT is one of the more exciting forms of cardio as it involves you changing direction or exercises to keep things more interesting.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF HIIT FOR YOU?

Really depends on what you enjoy doing. You can design your HIIT with many different types of exercise. Because of the high intensity I would recommend something like sprints followed by walking or on a stationary bike. These are well grounded exercises that will not require balance challenges. Once you become more experienced you can start adding more difficult exercises.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M DOING IT RIGHT?

You will know right after your first round of HIIT. If you’re doing it right you will be short of breath and have a pounding heart. It’s much more intense than any other type of cardio. I’m sure at one point in your lift you had a food race with a friend across the street or across a field. That feeling when you reach the end and feel completely out of breath and your heart wanting to jump out of your chest is what you want to shoot for.

LISS CARDIO (Low Intensity Steady State)

What does LISS mean, Low Intensity Steady State. LISS is the same as steady state except the intensity is very low. LISS is a more relaxed form of cardio that is normally a period greater than 45 minutes. The max heart rate for LISS is about 65% or less. Some good examples of LISS are.

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Cycling

BENEFITS OF LISS CARDIO?

LISS is not the optimal form of cardio to reduce fat cells. This form of cardio is ideal for people new to fitness, the elder, and very obese people. While it’s not as effective as the others not over doing it with extreme cardio is more likely to have people adhere to a fitness program in the beginning.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF LISS FOR YOU?

Like the other forms of cardio it’s always best to choose a type of exercise that is most enjoyable to you. If you’re new to fitness I would recommend starting with a simple walk around the block then start to experiment with others.

CONCLUSION!

When it comes to what cardio is better for you it’s really apples to oranges. All cardio is beneficial especially if your new to fitness. What it comes down to is what you enjoy most, have time for, and your fitness goals. I personally enjoy HIIT after years of being a wrestler long steady state sessions are not my cup of tea.

Is Cardio Good, and Is HIIT Better?

The physiological benefits of aerobic — also known as endurance or cardio — training include improvements in tidal volume (quantity of air the lungs move), blood volume, and stroke volume (quantity of blood the heart moves per beat). It also increases the number of capillaries, and the number and size of mitochondria. All of these contribute to the body’s ability to transport oxygen to the working muscle.

Recent research has shown that cardio – but not strength work or interval training – can make rodent brains bigger.

Okay, forget how much that last part sounds like the premise of a 1950 sci-fi film. Let’s look at other research.

A long-term study followed 1583 middle-aged men and women with no personal history of either dementia or heart disease for two decades. Before-and-after tests done 20 years apart showed that the ones who had kept in shape tended to have larger brains, while the poorly conditioned participants had lost gray matter.

Holding on to gray matter prevents cognitive decline and decreases the risk for dementia. No specific type of exercise was explored in that study, however.

And that’s a perfect lead-in to the long-raging debate over Cardio and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Fans Of HIIT Always Stack the Deck

Let me be clear: I have nothing against high-intensity intervals. I use them often in my own workouts and when teaching.

But something interesting occurs when staunch advocates of HIIT compare the relative benefits of HIIT with standard cardio.

They tend to cheat.

In the hands of the die-hard HIIT fan, the word “cardio” has become code for lame-o exercise at the lowest levels of intensity. It should come as no surprise that the benefits – if any – of such lame workouts would fall far short of the benefits of HIIT.

And no one challenges the criteria. So let’s challenge them with just a few simple facts.

You Can Go Hard AND Long

It’s not true that intense training must involve short intervals of, say, 20 to 60 seconds. If you train well aerobically and seriously enough to achieve the aerobic benefits covered above, you can maintain a high level of work for a pretty long time.

Elite marathon runners, for example, run faster than 5-minute-mile pace for 26.2 miles. Most people would find it difficult, if not impossible, to run a single 5-minute mile. It’s a fast pace. Elite marathoners do it for a couple of hours.

As Matt Fitzgerald – well-known marathoner, trainer, and author of several books and articles – states, “well-trained endurance athletes really don’t have to slow down much as they increase the duration of their efforts. We are not the folks reading magazines on elliptical trainers.”

Can’t We Combine Cardio With HIIT?

The training combination that appeals to me most fits a set of about 8 intense intervals into a long training of moderate or moderately high intensity.

It’s not just my personal preference, though. There’s evolutionary evidence that this way of training is precisely what we were always meant to do.

In his book Born To Run, Christopher McDougall reveals the blend of morphology, paleontology, anthropology, physics, and math that led to understanding how humans became the greatest distance runners in the animal kingdom.

There’s no way this article could do justice to McDougall’s fascinating and detailed description of the emergence of homo sapiens over Neanderthals (they were parallel species), and the evolution of humans as supreme hunters hundreds of thousands of years before the creation of the tools we associate with hunting (spearheads, bows and arrows).

A few of the evolutionary changes include upright posture to allow deeper breathing and limit retention of sun heat; the ability to release body heat through sweat, rather than panting like other mammals until they must rest or die of hyperthermia; and the ability to accelerate once the pursued animal has been run to exhaustion.

Human “persistence hunting” was a combination of endurance running primarily, plus some short sprints. Humans evolved to run in conditions that no other animals can match, and it’s easier for us.

Good At Endurance (For a Long Time)

Endurance athletes can typically continue into what’s considered old age in other sports. In such activities as distance running, they can still out-perform teenagers or 20-year-olds until their mid-60s.

When workouts are always high-intensity, over-training, failure to recover fully, and a high incidence of injury are likely.

Burn-out after constant high-intensity work makes it feel like drudgery, instead of something to look forward to each day. Why not work out in a way that you’d enjoy long-term?

Endurance athletes of other types display similar results. Master’s cyclists in their 50s and up often outperform younger cyclists.

So the choice isn’t really between short, intense intervals and long, slow cardio with a magazine. The right kind of training comprises both.

The cardio, of course, should be hard enough to cause a training effect, not help you catch up on your reading.

That perfect combination is effective, enjoyable, sustainable over the long haul, and entirely in sync with our evolutionary nature.