There is so much around HIIT these days! It certainly is the best way to lose weight but that doesn’t mean you should do it everyday. Like anything your body needs time to recover. Doing HIIT everyday is not a way to lose weight faster. When you perform a HIIT workout you are spiking your heart rate for a set amount of time and then allowing it to recover and repeating this cycle multiple times. This results in EPOC or the afterburn (burning calories up to 36 hours post workout). EPOC stands for Excess Post Oxygen Consumption which is an increased rate of oxygen intake after the workout. During the workout you are working at an oxygen deficit. Your body needs to make that oxygen back which results in more calories burned post workout. HIIT workouts are typically shorter in length then steady state cardio which makes it a great way to fit a workout into your busy lifestyle. This style of workout taps into your anaerobic system. Whether using body weight exercises or machines, you can achieve a HIIT workout.

Let’s use the treadmill as an example. You can do a preset interval program but what I have found with my clients is that this doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as the program that I provide them. You also don’t need to be a runner to do interval training. Any fitness level can take part in a HIIT workout. I’ve created programs for people that are only able to walk on the treadmill and they burn anywhere from 400-600 calories per workout. That’s not including the amount of calories they will get from the afterburn. Calorie burn is not the only benefit for HIIT training. It also helps to train your heart. Overtime your resting heart rate will lower which means you’ll have to work harder on your intervals to achieve the same results. It’s a great way to measure your improvement and fitness level.

There is still benefit to Steady State Cardio. Using the treadmill as an example again, this would entail walking or running at the same speed for a longer period of time (like 20-40 minutes) which uses our anaerobic system at first but as time goes on you end up tapping into your aerobic energy system. This type of cardio takes longer then HIIT training but still comes with many benefits. The number one benefit is conditioning our most important muscle, our heart. Steady State Cardio helps to lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol), improve metabolism, keep blood sugar levels under control (by increasing your muscle’s ability to utilize glucose) and improve your sleep, just to name a few.

So which one should you do? The answer is both. They both have benefits that will complement your energy systems and results. HIIT training should never be done more then 3 times a week. You want to give yourself a day of rest in between each HIIT workout. Therefore, if you still want to do some kind of activity, complement your HIIT workouts with a steady state cardio workout. Alternate between the two so you get the best results for your heart, mental health and body function.

Here’s a FREE HIIT Treadmill workout to try the next time you go to the gym. E-mail back or post in our Facebook group if you liked it and how many calories you burned.

Here’s the FREE treadmill program again!