When your personal trainer or coach tells you to do more cardio, you most likely think of running. While running is extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular health, it is not the superior option for fat loss. When you are using cardio to further your weight loss, you want to choose activities that range from low-moderate to high intensity.
Let’s talk about the options you have…
Low Intensity Steady State (LISS)
What is LISS? Low intensity steady state cardio is done at low intensity for a period (usually 30-60 minutes). This type of cardio is extremely important for a person’s overall health and weight loss.
- Stairs/Stair Master
If you’re someone who is just starting out on your fitness journey, or you live a sedentary lifestyle, LISS cardio is beneficial to add into your fitness routine. It is easy, free and a good start to building your endurance. So, put on your shoes and get to walking!
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
What is HIIT? This type of training is the opposite of LISS. It focuses on quick bursts of exercises at maximum effort, followed by short rest periods. For example, 30 seconds on a few exercises of choice, with 30 seconds off (5 rounds), can be labeled as HIIT.
HIIT is extremely effective for fat loss...but there is a catch. This cardio should not be used forever, only when needed. Let’s say you have a vacation to Mexico coming up and you want to look lean and fit. It is a great time to start adding HIIT to your workout routine to help you shred fat as fast as possible. But after a couple weeks of circuit training, you want to switch up your workouts and focus on lifting weights and other forms of cardio (if desired).
Check out Maps HIIT if you want to apply this style training to your fitness routine.
Let’s put this all together. The best way to use cardio for fat loss is:
- Adding in LISS cardio 3-4x/week (depending on your fitness goals).
- Implementing HIIT workouts 2-3x/week.
- Lifting heavy weights (the more muscle you build, the quicker your metabolism will be).
- Be sure to incorporate cardio after your weight training (this ensures you are not fatiguing your muscles early on from performing cardio first).