Slow steady cardio or high intensity cardio?This is one of the most commonly asked fitness questions. If you speak to 10 different fitness instructors the chances are you will get 10 different answers. The reason for this is that there is not one correct answer.
It comes down to our personal goals. Our level of fitness will play a huge part in deciding which method we choose and if it will work for us.
Steady state cardio also known as slow cardio includes activities like walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or kayaking at a leisurely pace. It is relatively moderate exercise. We will not be panting and gasping for air. Most of us can take part. We will burn fat while doing steady state cardio.
High intensity cardio can be full body resistance training with minimal rest time, interval workouts, sprints and spinning. These exercises leave us feeling breathless and panting. We will sweat too. They are not easy workouts. Often we don’t burn much fat during the workout, however, after the workout is over, we will be in fat burning mode for hours.
When it comes to fat burning, the high intensity workouts are superior to the steady state cardio sessions. We can choose to burn fat during the 45 minutes or 60 minutes of training or we can choose to burn fat for 10 hours after an intense session.
The choice is yours. If you are unfit and have not been exercising regularly, you should not embark on a high intensity program immediately. Start with slow steady cardio, and once you are consistent and exercising at least 5 times a week, you will soon find that your fitness level improves. Once you are fit enough take it to the next level, which is of course a high intensity level.
Slow steady cardio has it’s time and place. High intensity training should not be done on a daily basis. We should intersperse a slow cardio day between our high intensity days.
Some days we could just go for a slow 30 minute jog or brisk walk. It works wonders too, without stressing our body out. We’re still burning calories, just not as many. It gives our body a break without affecting our fat loss.
Consult a doctor before you embark on any exercise program. Know your limitations and don’t rush the process. If you are just beginning to exercise, aim to walk for 30 minutes 5 times a week. If you can’t achieve a thirty minute walk aim instead for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunchtime and 10 minutes in the evening. And if 10 minutes is initially proving too difficult then start with a five minute walk. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, all or nothing is an excuse to do nothing. We can always do something.
The answer to the original question Slow Steady Cardio or High Intensity Cardio is both. We should start with slow steady; continue until our fitness allows us to take it to high intensity. Once there we should have slow steady cardio days, between high intensity days.
The fat loss and fitness journey is a very personal one and we will need to make many personal choices along the way. Don’t feel like you have to restrict yourself to any one form or method of exercise. Take your time, experiment and keep going. Find activities that you really enjoy doing. You will lose fat and gain your desired body shape once you don’t give up.
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