We were all happy doing our regular treadmill thing or long hours at the elliptical when suddenly HIIT exercises, well, hit us like a storm! Suddenly, long hours at the gym doing steady state cardio seemed less effective and also boring.
So, should we ditch steady state cardio altogether? Should those long hours of jogging or cycling or elliptical be a thing of the past? Not so fast! We’d better check out the benefits of both and find out finally who wins, steady state cardio or High-Intensity Cardio Training (HIIT)?
Steady state Cardio –Don’t Ignore the Plusses
Steady-state cardio has served you for so long, so it cannot be bad, can it? Besides, just sometimes when you are not up for intensive exercises, steady state cardio will prove to be your BFF.
Believe me, I LOVE HIIT, but on those days when I haven’t had a good night’s sleep and the day stretches long and arduously ahead of me, I just am not in the mood for 60 burpees or jumping jacks or squat jumps, I would rather settle for a brisk walk or do a more relaxing yoga or pilates.
That said and done, let us focus on the advantages of steady state cardio and find out why it should be a regular part of your regime.
- Boosts your recovery levels- HIIT does put your body into a fat burning mode, but what it also does it puts your joints and muscles under double jeopardy. Since doing HIIT too many times a week can hardly let your muscles recover. Alternate between low- to moderate-intensity workouts to increase the blood flow to damaged muscle tissues and boost your recovery levels.
- Helps with dieting- What you eat after an intense sweat session has got much to do with your overall fitness and health. But there are some people who over tax their body and under-eat, which is SO WRONG! I mean, can you make your car run without adequate fuel? Similarly, you cannot function if you do not fuel your body right. And HIIT does make you feel ravenous, if you eat too much, then your plans of losing fat can go kaput. So steady state can help in calorie burn without over taxing your system and it does not make you go on an eating overdrive.
- BURN Calories on steady state– Here’s a question, do you lead a sedentary lifestyle and stay at the computer for hours together? If you are nodding your head vehemently, then steady state cardio is just what you need to burn those calories.
- Up your Aerobic fitness– Steady-state cardio benefitsare not limited to weight loss. It’s great for developing not only your aerobic fitness levels but also increases your cardiovascular endurance. The functional moves of steady state cardio can be mimicked in real life as well. Your weekend shenanigans can be all about adventure activities like cycling, hiking, or rowing, and for those moves you need to up your cardiovascular endurance.
- You will keep at it– Tell me if you hate the exercises you do, for how long are you going to stick to them? Say you hate burpees (here I go at burpees again) would you do themeveryday? Not really! As for me, I keep mixing my workouts together, it helps me lose the fat and keeps me interested. Honestly, switching things up should be your go-to mantra, youshould look forward to your workouts.
Why HIIT? Should you Make it Part of Your Life?
If you haven’t capitulated to HIIT fever yet, now is the time! HIIT or high-intensity interval training, as it is known, is a training technique in which you have to invest your 100%, by going through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short and sometimes active, recovery periods. This ups your heart rate and burns fat in surprisingly much lesser time than other workouts.
The after-burn effect lasts for a long time, sometimes even 48 hours after the workout is completed. This is why HIIT has been crowned the ultimate workout for fat loss. Still not sold on the idea? We will give you a few more reasons to try it and test it, and get convinced by yourself. HIIT workouts also let out something known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or “EPOC.”
EPOC is a phenomenon of an increased amount of oxygen that your body utilizes while doing a strenuous activity.
- It is quick and oh-so-convenient- This one advantage appeals to me the most as mostly I am short on time and don’t quite look forward to long sessions at the gym. HIIT surprisingly fits well into my busy schedule. You complete your workouts within 30 minutes or less, and you can do the workout wherever you want.
- It is an equipment-free workout– Not too fond of weights? Don’t worry, you can join the HIIT club as you do not need any equipment to nail an HIIT workout, your body weight will do just fine. HIIT burns fat, builds muscles, retains muscle and helps in greater calorie burn! WOW! What’s not to like about it? Not much, also check out these points to convince your mind that when it comes to workouts HIIT is the way to go.
- You get theincreased size of heart muscle, that means a stronger heart.
- You also experience increased stroke volume, which meansmore and more blood flows out with each heartbeat.
- An increased rate of oxidized enzyme efficiencyis what you get with HIIT, it creates ATP energy withgreat
- You also feel an increased rate and efficiency of oxygen and fuel seeping into the muscle.
- A vast improvement in your endurance limits of slow-twitch muscle fibers is also one of the common benefits of High-Intensity
- Once you begin with the best cardio for fat loss,your dependence on fat as an energy source increases.
- With HIIT exercises, the mitochondria, known as energy factory of a muscle cell, increases greatly.
- Your body’s ability to dispose of waste products created in the muscles at the time of exercises, that is theonset of blood lactate accumulation, or OBLA, also significantly increases.
The only thing is, you cannot do HIIT everyday. Two days or at the most three days and you are done. For the rest of the days of the week, you can select steady state cardio. That my friend, is a near perfect routine to get in the fit zone and stay there forever!
So who wins? Nobody! Looks like you need both, so do not forget your walks, your jogs or your cycle trips both inside and outside the gym.
DON’T GO YET!
We thought we will give you some great HIIT workouts for you to do at home! Is it raining outside or snowing? Whatever it is, don’t let bad weather ruin your fitness goals. Go HIIT it out!
Group A: Jump squats
Stand and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Start the exercise by doing a regular squat keeping your core engaged and jump up explosively. Then you lower your body back into the squat position and complete one rep. Land light on your foot as much as possible, which requires immense control.
Do two to three sets of 10 reps.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and put a step forward in front of you with your right knee bent. Lower yourself until your left knee comes closer and almost touches the floor, then immediately try and raise yourself back up and return the right foot to the starting position. Repeat with the alternating sides.
Rock star jumps:
Stand with your knees wider than your hip-width and keep them ever so slightly bent. Jump high, flicking your heels back so you kick yourself in the bum and land with soft knees, ensuring that you land with your upper body under control.
Group B: Upper- Body Moves
Hand Tap Push ups:
Pause when you are at the top of the push-up and use one hand to give the other hand a nice tap. Keep switching hands with each rep. That brief pause makes the exercise more isometric and also helps improve balance and boosts strength.
Sit on the edge of your sofa or a strong chair and place your hands on the cushions keeping themnext to your butt, legs extended right before you. Push up by your elbows and push your butt out in front of the edge of the sofa. Then raise and lower your body by bending and straightening your arms behind you, don’t go down with the help of your core,rather push your elbow and work out your triceps.
Group C: The Core Story
You probably know this very well; if not, here is how to do this. Lay downthe ground with knees bent, arms overhead. Swing your arms towards your knees while engaging abs and sitting up. Tap the ground in between feet with your hands and return to the start position.
Side Plank Crunch:
Facing the floor, get on to your hands and toes, keeping arms straight, abs engaged, and creating a straight line from toes to shoulders. If this is too hard, you can lower yourself down to your elbows and forearms.
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Brace your abs all the time, lift your hips up off the floor until you form a straight line from knees to shoulders. Keep your heels down for stability. Return to the start and repeat.
Group D: HIIT Cardio
If you are in a standing position, quickly drop your body to the floor by pushing your feet behind you and touching your chest to the ground. Swiftly, bring your feet back to you and complete the movement by jumping in the air and clapping your hands overhead just by reaching overhead with your hands outstretched.
It is time to nail your WORKOUT!
You have to do three rounds of your four moves (you can choose whichever exercise from group A, group B, group C, and then follow it up with the calorie bursting burpees).
The trick is to do as many as you can of the first move for 30 seconds, then rest for the next 30 seconds before you move on to the next. The total workout can last 12 minutes, but do not underestimate the power of a small workout as you will be totally spent by the end.
You need to work at a pace where you can continuously move for the entire 30 seconds. Do as much as you can in that time. You are going to find that tough, but things become easier as you get fitter, you’ll soon be able to do your reps with a lot more ease, a far cry from I-am-going-to-die-I-am-so-out-of-breath kinda feeling.
The best part of an HIIT workout plan is you don’t have to spend hours at the gym, just a measly 12 minutes and you are good to go! And what’s more? You keep burning calories even when you are done with your workouts. A killer workout is as little as 12 minutes away, sometimes even 7 minutes.
It is certainly the best cardio for fat loss. But as they say, everything should be done in moderation and forgetting your good old steady state cardio will be foolish, so jump on to the fitness bandwagon and jump start your weight loss program with either state cardio or HIIT. Either way it is a win-win situation!