Mixing HIIT Cardio with Slower Sessions for Ideal Fat Loss

These days we hear a lot of talk about cardio for fat loss. After all, cardio can help immensely with fat loss, regardless of whether you are just starting to lose fat, or if you are just losing those last few pounds. Not only is it beneficial for your cardiovascular health, it also greatly helps with fat loss. But which is the best form of cardio for fat loss? Is it High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), or is it longer, slower forms of cardio such as steady jogging or walking on an incline?
This is a debate that seems to go on forever, due to each side of the argument not wanting to admit that they are wrong. Well we’ve got news for those people; neither side is wrong! That’s right, neither HIIT cardio nor long, slow cardio should be excluded from the workout of someone looking to lose fat. Instead, HIIT cardio should be mixed with long and slow cardio, as this will result in ideal fat loss. So both sides of the argument have been thinking that it must be absolute, when really, it is a mix of the two that is ultimately what will result in the best fat loss. So let’s get more into detail about what exactly these different types of cardio are, and what benefits you can expect to see.
To start, let’s briefly go over what exactly constitutes HIIT cardio, or high-intensity interval training, and long, slow cardio. HIIT training is extremely beneficial for burning fat in a short period of time. Workouts typically range from 10-20 minutes, and are composed of alternating repetitions of high-intensity exercise, followed by low intensity recovery work. An example could be 30 seconds of high intensity sprinting, cycling, or any form of cardiovascular work, followed by 15 seconds of low intensity jogging, cycling, or any other form of cardiovascular training.
The other type of cardiovascular exercise for ideal fat loss is long, slow cardio. This is often called LISS, or Low-Intensity Steady State cardio. This is typically cardiovascular exercise is performed for 20-60 minutes, with a consistent heart rate, on average at around 140-150 beats per minute.
While these two might sound like complete opposite forms of activity, they both work extremely well to supplement each other for ideal fat loss. On their own, each type of exercise provides great fat loss if performed correctly, but for a number of reasons, a mix of both high-intensity interval training and slow, steady, long cardio is ideal. Let’s go into detail about why a mix is ideal for fat loss.
The first reason that a mix of HIIT and LISS cardio is ideal for fat loss is that many people don’t stick to their exercise plan if it is only composed of one form or the other. For example, if a beginner starts to perform a cardio routine of only HIIT, it is possible that they will get injured as a result of their body not being used to performing cardio at this high of a level of intensity. If this is the case, all cardio will be ceased during the injury and recovery period, and as a result, fat loss will slow, or completely stall. So you might think that long, slow, steady cardio is the way to go, since HIIT can increase your chances of injury. While LISS cardio offers a lower chance of injury, and is ideal for beginners, many people find that it is simply too boring. A form of exercise is no good to you if it is so unbearable that you won’t be able to complete it as scheduled.
This is where mixing the two forms of cardio comes into play. If you find HIIT extremely exciting and fun, but are worried about injury, then it would be wise to alternate one day of HIIT, and one day of LISS cardio. LISS cardio can be performed nearly every single day, as the impact and stress it puts on your body is quite low. So by doing this, it can help you recover for your next intense HIIT session, reduce the chance of injury, and make it easier to stick to your workout pln.
HIIT cardio is also known to increase the number of calories your body burns even while you are not working out. After performing a HIIT cardio workout, your body is at an elevated rate of calorie expenditure for quite some time after working out, and as a result it allows you to continue burning calories, even while resting. On the other hand, some individuals do not find long cardio sessions boring, as they can watch their favorite TV show during it, and they can burn a much greater amount of calories by doing so.
So with all that being said, the best way to promote ideal fat loss is to mix things up. Don’t be afraid to perform high-intensity interval training one day, and low-intensity steady state cardio the next. Not only will it be easier for you to continue, it will also give your body, and mind, a break from a repetitive form of cardio training. The combination of an immense number of calories burned from long cardio sessions, and the increased caloric expenditure of your body for hours after high-intensity interval training results in a safe way to optimize fat loss. Not only that but you’ll be optimizing both your body’s aerobic and anaerobic capabilities, which performance-wise can translate into both increased strength and increased endurance.  Most weight-lifters also report faster recovery times by keeping regular LISS cardio sessions a part of their routines. Bottom line…HIIT cardio is amazing, but don’t leave LISS behind in the dust as it’s still useful.