High Intensity interval Training is better known as HIIT.
It is being heralded as the latest and greatest form of cardio based fat loss training.
Steady State Cardio or SSC is what has been used for decades by everyone and anyone. It involves low intensity cardio exercises like walking, running, treadmills, cross trainers, rowing machines and every other machine that you would find in any commercial gym.
The question that is being asked at the moment is which is better for fat burning?
HIIT is a form of training that is short, intense and can involve a single exercise done numerous times, e.g. hill sprints. It can also be done with multiple exercises done in a short circuit format.
The reason that HIIT has become so popular is because of EPOC.
EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption and what this means is that after you finish your training session, your body will continue to burn calories due to the intensity of the session in order to replace the oxygen ‘debt’ the training has provided.
It all sounds a bit complicated, but basically you do short intense sessions and you will still be burning calories long after your session has finished.
HIIT has also been shown to help release fatty acids, (stored fat) for energy.
A 15 min HIIT session which can herald anything from a 200 – 400 calorie burn depending on the intensity of the session
Sounds like a win-win situation: short workouts, longer calorie burn and using stored fat for energy.
(It should be noted that if you are not in a calorie deficit the released fatty acids that you would like to burn off won’t be used, your body has no reason to use them up.)
This brings us to Steady State Cardio, SSC.
SSC is no stranger to anyone.
At some point in time everyone has used this form of cardio for some reason or another.
Walk into any gym and you will see lines of machines with people working away in order to burn fat.
An average calorie burn for an hour of SSC can range between 400 and 600 calories.
Body builders have used this for years to get stage ready and swear by their morning cardio sessions.
Many people simply find it relaxing and use it to clear their heads after a day’s work or to go over their workload for the day ahead.
So we come back to the question at hand, which is better for fat loss?
The answer is ……..it depends. (Did you just curse at your screen???)
No-one ever wants to hear this answer.
We have been lead to believe that there is a rubber stamped full stop answer for everything.
But in the weight loss world, there isn’t.
The question shouldn’t be “which is better?”
The question should be “which is better suited to me?”
Let’s say you are overweight and have been inactive for years. You may find it hard just walking up the stairs at work.
Do you really think that a 30 min session of HIIT class that involves high impact exercises like burpees is the best starting point for you?
But an hour of walking on the treadmill might be a great starting because it’s low intensity and uses fat as an energy source.
Let’s say you are busy, train a few time per week and want to add some cardio to your session for some extra fat loss.
A 10 min HIIT sprint session at the end of your workout can be the extra push you need to drop those last few pounds.
When fat loss is your goal, your diet is what will make or break them.
If your diet isn’t right, the type of cardio you do will not matter.
When you have the nutrition sorted, the type of cardio you do doesn’t matter. If you like, do them both.
* Emmet is the owner and operator of Rushe Personal Training and PerformanceTags: