What is HIIT? It stands for High Intensity Interval Training. What that means in simple terms is pushing yourself to your max heart rate for a small period of time, then letting your heart rate come back down for a short period of time, and then repeat for no more than 20-30 mins. If you are doing HIIT correctly, then it will be really hard to go any longer than 20-30 mins, and also not necessary to go longer than that. I typically go for 15-20 mins with a 10 min warm up and 10 min cool down.
HIIT burns more calories than steady state cardio overall by more than double! What happens when you do HIIT is your body's metabolism will continue to burn more calories then it would at complete rest. This effect is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. In simple terms: you will continue to burn more calories for the next 24 hours or so after your HIIT cardio, unlike steady state cardio. Steady state cardio is great for burning extra calories, but once you are done walking/jogging/running you stop burning those extra calories.
Example of HIIT on the treadmill/ elliptical/ stairmaster: Warm up for 10 mins walking or jogging. 30 second sprint as fast as you can with a 30 second rest, or up to 2 mins walk to get your heart rate backdown. Repeat for 10-30 mins...the ideal time would be 20 mins.
30 second sprint, 30 second rest and jump off treadmill/machine. 1 min sprint, 1-2 min walk. You can design it however you like! Just push yourself! If you can have a conversation easily while doing this, you are not pushing hard enough.
I typically do 3 HIIT days a week with 2-3 steady state cardio days in between.
Benefits of HIIT:
- Efficient on a time crunch
- Builds muscle
- Burns more fat than steady state cardio
- Healthier heart and better endurance
- You don't have to do it on a machine/treadmill...you can push yourself anywhere you want doing jumping, sprints, kettle bell swings....any exercise that gets your heart rate spiked high
- Preserve muscle while burning fat
- Increased Metabolism
Benefits of Steady State Cardio:
- Beginner friendly if you are new to doing cardio
- Promotes recovery
- Helps improve endurance
- Keep heart rate stable
- Can do this every day, unlike HIIT which should be only up to 3-4 days a week
- Burn extra calories
- Get your steps in
- If you are too tired and don't feel like exerting energy for HIIT, then steady state is your friend
Give this a try!! Whether you are looking to gain muscle and/or lose fat, both options are a must!!!