Today we are going to address a topic a lot of fitness people have a love\hate relationship with: CARDIO. When I first started my fitness journey, I really didn’t know what to do about cardio. When should I do it? How much of it should I do? Are the treadmill and elliptical my only options?
There are two main types of cardio that I have done, steady state and high intensity interval training or HIIT. My goal here is to give you the short and sweet version of what both of those are, so you can do the right one to meet your fitness goals.
Steady state cardio is an activity that keeps the same pace over an extended period of time, such as jogging outside or on the treadmill at a low to moderate pace for 30 minutes, or riding a bike at roughly the same speed for half an hour or more. Doing cardio this way burns both fat and some muscle mass, so if your goal is to stay slim and slender, this is probably for you. Even though you may burn lots of calories during the actual workout, results won’t come as quickly as it will if you do HIIT cardio.
HIIT cardio has an afterburn affect that steady state doesn’t. It allows you to keep burning calories even after the workout is over! Also, you can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time with high intensity training. HIIT training is all about intervals that are very intense for a short amount of time, followed by a low intensity exercise. Sprints are a great example. Sprinting as fast as you can for 20 seconds then walking briskly for a minute, switching off for a total of 10 -15 minutes is a great example. There are many options when it comes to HIIT, from bodyweight exercises to traditional running. This form of cardio helps you burn fat fast while keeping your muscle mass intact. So if you want to get fit and still keep your curves, this form of cardio is for you!
Honestly, it all comes down to your fitness goals. I like my curves and hard earned muscle and I want to keep it, so I do HIIT about 4 times a week after my weight training. It helps me stay lean and toned, yet strong and curvy.