Sure running gets your heart beating fast and walking is a great exercise you can do anywhere, anytime, but neither are the best cardio to cut fat. The best cardio to cut fat is actually HIIT—high intensity interval training. While you can do it in a variety of ways, but it boils down to transitioning between low intensity or moderate intensity intervals to high intensity intervals and back throughout the exercise time. You can use any exercise to do this, including running.
How HIIT works.
If you’re just starting HIIT, start slow. Do whichever exercise you choose at a moderate pace, which is about half of your maximum effort for approximately 20 to 60 seconds. Then ramp it up to as hard as you can go for the next 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat the process. Your maximum push should really be your maximum and the hardest you can go. Your easier pace should be about twice as long as your top speed. Do the process five to as many as eight times, then spend the last five minutes with cool down exercises. It sounds easy, but it’s not. As you adjust, increase the time for the intervals.
HIIT burn more calories and even burns them after you quit your workout.
HIIT causes excess post-exercise oxygen consumption—EPOC—which means it continues to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout. That’s because the body has to work hard to replace the oxygen stores it burnt up during the hard training. That means you burn more calories to do it. The higher intensity level makes the body burn more in a far shorter workout than it would in a lower intensity workout that lasted much longer. That boosts your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout is completed.
HIIT is one form of interval training.
It starts to get a bit confusing if you read much about exercise. You hear about HIIT and interval training. HIIT is one form of interval training. Interval training involves going rapidly from low intensity to high intensity exercises, one exercise after another with a short rest between them. The difference is that HIIT focuses on maximizing the intensity of the bursts, but the level of intensity is low to high with rest periods in between in interval training.
- With HIIT, you not only burn pounds fast, you also improve your endurance faster than you would using steady exercising.
- Tabata is a form of HIIT. It has shorter periods of rest and pushes you harder during the intense exercise period.
- 15 minutes of HIIT training provides the same fat burning and cardiovascular benefits as a half hour or more of other training. One study showed that sedentary, but healthy, people who performed one minute total of HIIT three times a week for six weeks improved blood sugar and aerobic capacity significantly.
- You can do HIIT training anywhere, with or without equipment.