If you have read part 1 & 2 you will know that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is superior to steady state cardio when it comes to fat burning and improvements in both aerobic and anaerobic improvements. Does this mean I eradicate all steady state cardio from my clients training programs….. No! Why?
If they are new to exercise. High intensity interval training is hard, very hard! For most beginners the intensity of this type of training places too much stress on the body’s cardiovascular system and muscles. For a beginner it is more productive and safer to concentrate on steady state exercise or basic weight training. You will see benefits from this style of training with reduced injury risk.
If I want them to burn extra calories without taxing the central nervous system. This is why you may see bodybuilders or physique athletes performing steady state cardio. Intense cardio and weight training is very taxing on the central nervous system and it takes a long time to recover from compared to steady state exercise. Because weight training is very taxing on muscles and the central nervous system, they need to find a way of burning extra calories without “burning” themselves out. Although not optimal, steady state cardio will burn the extra few calories needed whilst still allowing them to “go hard” during the weight training sessions. This doesn’t have to be performed in the gym, it can be something simple such as going for a lengthy walk or a gentle swim.
Recovery! Using steady state cardio is a great way to recover. The bodies clearing out system (lymphatic system) doesn’t have a pump system (a heart) to get the bodies waste products removed. Instead is uses movement and muscle contractions to help get waste from the muscles to the lymph nodes where it is dealt with.
To burn the fat that has been mobilised from high intensity training. High intensity interval training, mobilises or breaks down a lot of fat from the body’s stores. It’s fantastic in this regard, but just because fat is mobilised and enters the bloodstream it doesn’t mean that it gets burned. Steady state cardio isn’t nearly as effective as HIIT at mobilising fat from fat stores, but it’s really effective at burning fats that are floating around the bloodstream as a result of high intensity intervals. Post HIIT, steady state cardio is insurance that the fat that was mobilised gets burned.
To feel alive!! You can’t under estimate the benefits of getting up and moving. 90% of our working days are spent sat or lying down and for most the weekends aren’t much better. Steady state cardio doesn’t have to be performed in a gym, it can simply be going for a walk on your lunch break, taking the stairs instead of using the lift or playing football with the kids in the garden.
The power of movement cannot be underestimated when it comes to both physical and mental health. Get moving!