Cardio – for some it’s a dreaded word that instils mixed emotions and for others it’s a true passion that presents the opportunity for achieving results. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, there is no denying the importance of cardio in an effective weight loss plan.
Low-intensity cardio training, such as jogging, is one of the most popular tactics for weight loss but, despite its popularity, it’s far from the most effective. With that said, let’s delve a little further into what is a more effective option than low intensity training when it comes to burning fat and getting rid of those love handles.
What type of training is better?
The simple answer is high-intensity cardio training and lifting weights. What many people don’t know is that lifting weights stimulates the release of growth hormones that burn fat and, in turn, adds more muscle, which has the effect of making the body burn more calories, even during rest periods. Similar to weight training, high intensity interval training has the very same affects and, despite what many think, it does not stress the body out when it’s done right.
What is high intensity interval training?
High intensity interval training is the term that is given to short, intense spurts of sprinting, cycling or any other traditional kind of cardio exercise. Generally speaking, a high intensity training session consists of short periods of full effort that are intermittently followed by an even shorter time period of a slower pace for recovery.
So what that means is, instead of putting on your cycle clothing for an hour-long leisurely cycle around your local park, you should instead choose to do a 20-minute sprint interval session. The reason why is that not only will you lose more calories with the latter, but you’ll also have the added benefit of that calorie burning continuing for up to 12 hours after a good session.
How to Form a HIIT Plan
Because HIIT is extremely intensive when it’s done correctly, it’s not recommended as an every day exercise as fatigue can quickly set in and prevent it from being effective. To create a plan, experts say that 2-3 high intensity workouts a week is sufficient. Each workout should start off with a thorough warm-up of the body followed by an alternation of approximately 20-30 seconds of exertion and 45-60 seconds at a slower pace for recovery.
Repeat this 10-12 times and end the workout with a cool-down period and another thorough stretch. Obviously, the fitter you get, the longer the exertion period should be and the shorter the recovery period should become.
What kind of exercises are we talking?
When it comes to suitable exercises, the options are vast. In fact, a regular session of everything from cycling and running to rowing, boxing, swimming and even dancing can be turning into an effective fat burning high intensity interval training session.
One of the best things about HIIT is that you don’t need to splash out on expensive gym membership to lose fat, as most of these kinds of exercise activities can be done at home, in the park or even in a hotel room.
As mentioned, HIIT training sessions should only be done 2-3 times a week so you can still mix these up with lower intensity cardio activities such as long jogs and slow cycles. To conclude, if fat loss is your primary fitness objective, be sure to include interval training in your training schedule as the benefits it provides in achieving this goal are indispensible.