When it comes to doing cardio workouts, there are two basic methods you can use – LSD and HIIT.
LSD = Long Slow Distance. A perfect example is jogging for a few miles.
HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training. A perfect example is sprinting.
LSD and HIIT are on complete opposite ends of the cardio continuum because of simple design. LSD is long, but slow. HIIT is short, but very fast.
Well, intensity and duration, as they refer to your cardio workouts, have an inverse relationship. The more intense work (ie – the faster you go), the shorter the duration has to be. Contrarily, the slower you go, you need to go for a longer duration to make up for it.
Simply put – you can run hard or you can run long, but you can not do both. Nobody can sprint a marathon …
HIIT has become increasingly popular in recent years, and considered more productive than LSD. I will not get into all the scientific sutff here, but here is the gist of what you need to know:
-HIIT is anaerobic, LSD is aerobic
-LSD training results in increased aerobic capacity, with little to no effect on anaerobic capacity
-HIIT, on the other hand, results in increased anaerobic capacity and increased aerobic capacity
-LSD burns more calories than HIIT during the actual exercise itself
-HIIT keeps the metabolism "revved up", so that you continue to burn calores for hours after the workout is over
There are other things we could talk about, but those are the main points.
So, given the above, HIIT seems to be the superior form of cardio.
It appears to give more benefits, burns fat better, does not take as long … but yet, people are still making lousy gains with their HIIT. Mediocre at best.
Why? It's simple, really – most people do not do their HIIT cardio workouts correctly.
HIIT, by definition, is supposed to be intense – as intense as possible. On the proverbial scale of 1 to 10, you need to be pushing an 11 or more. And many times, trainees do not do that when they're doing HIIT. They think they're pushing hard, and they might be, but instead of that 11 or more, maybe they're only putting in an effort of 8 or so. That does not cut it when it comes to doing HIIT cardio.
Remember when I said that you can run hard, or run long, but not both? Well, on the flip side, if you run easy, and run short, you're doing the worst of both worlds. And as effective as HIIT can be, if it's not done with the appropriate intensity, you're falling into that trap. You have to be pushing as hard as you can can.
Train Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard.