HIIT Training Vs. Longer Cardio Sessions

HIIT Training Vs. Longer Cardio Sessions

Why You Need to Switch Over to HIIT Cardio

Not all cardio is created equal. If you are like most people, you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to working out. Put simply, why spend hours every week doing timely long-distance cardio when you can switch over to HIIT cardio and get even better results in less time?

What Is HIIT Cardio?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. Right away, you may be thinking this sounds complicated. Acronyms may not be your thing. But it is actually a really easy concept to understand.

HIIT involves doing cardio in short bursts of high intensity over and over again. This may mean you sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, rest a minute, and then repeat five or six more times. Or perhaps biking in the gym or out on the road is more your thing? You can pedal as hard as you can for 45 seconds, rest a minute, and then once again, repeat this process five or six times. By the end of your cardio workout with HIIT, you will only have really trained for six minutes or so. But the results you will receive back will be equal to or better than moderately paced long-distance cardio that can last for 30 minutes or more. 

HIIT Research

There have been numerous studies completed detailing how HIIT is just as effective or more so than long-distance cardio. One study focused on 38 young men at the average age of 25 years old who were leading a sedentary lifestyle. To put it bluntly, they were overweight. 

They completed a 12 week training period of doing HIIT cardio three times a week. Each workout only took 20 minutes long where they would pedal hard on the bike for eight seconds and then do a 12-second recovery until the 20 minutes were completed. The results showed that the men saw a decrease in weight and total body fat in half the amount of time as the long-distance cardio control group participants. 

Retain Muscle Mass Much Better

As a bonus, HIIT cardio protects your muscle mass much better than long distance cardio as well. 

In general, as we age, our total muscle mass begins to shrink (unless we complete significant strength training and increase the amount of protein we ingest daily to a much higher amount). On average, total muscle mass can be reduced by close to ten percent every decade beginning at age 30. 

Plus, as a person completes the moderately paced long distance cardio, after a while, the body will not distinguish between using fat or muscle for energy. If you doubt this, look at the long distance runners you know. Or better yet, look at the long distance runners that compete at the highest levels. They barely have a muscle on them.

However, on the other hand, HIIT cardio will only focus on burning fat. You can see it firsthand with your own eyes. If you look at sprinters who only do HIIT cardio, they are built almost like bodybuilders. They keep their muscle mass, burn up fat, and are completely shredded.

Why Wouldn’t You Change to HIIT Cardio?

Being able to burn fat more efficiently with HIIT cardio, in considerably less time, and protecting your muscle mass while doing it sounds like a no-brainer. If you are looking to change your workouts up for the better, HIIT is a great place to start.

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