You probably see people on the cardio machines in your gym all the time. In my gym, those are usually the busiest machines.
Traditional cardio includes activities such as swimming, jogging, walking and using cardio machines in the gym. Usually it is done at a steady pace for some time at an exertion level of about 5-6 on a level 0-10. It is recommended to do a minimum of 75 min of vigorous cardio or 150 min of low to moderate intensity cardio each week.
HIIT or High Intensity interval training is a form of cardiovascular exercise that combines very high-intensity bursts of exercise with low intensity periods. Those high intensity periods should be a 7 on a level of 0-10 and should last between 30 s and 3 min. Between each interval you should have a lower intensity resting periods.
HIIT puts focus on burning more calories and because of the increase in intensity it’s more like a weight lifting workout than a cardio routine. Unlike cardio, which you can do for long periods of time, HIIT should be done in 10 minutes if you’re doing it the right way. You should also take at least a day off in-between HIIT workouts.
With regular cardio you’re burning calories while you are doing the work but with HIIT you get the benefit of burning calories for hours after the workout. And a HIIT workout is a big time saver as you will spend only 10-15 min on the workout and gain benefits from that. It is also great for people who don’t have gym nearby as you can do these workouts with no equipment at all.
If you love running, you can do HIIT within your running routine. For example, after a warm up start doing 40 s of sprinting and then follow with 20 s of slow jogging.
If you’re doing it right, after the last high intensity interval you should be sweating and feel completely toasted.
When you’re just starting out you should go slowly and start with longer periods of moderate-to high intensity and longer rest periods. After a while when you’re able to exert more energy, you can decrease the time and increase intensity.
If you are a beginner and trying to lose weight, starting with HIIT is not a good idea. First go with regular cardio and weight training 3 times a week and then when you have just a few pounds to shed, include a HIIT routine into your schedule and you’ll see great results.
For a healthy body and lifestyle it is always best to combine a little bit of everything. Try to incorporate both cardio and HIIT into your week and also, don’t forget to do weight training for the whole body 2-3 times a week.