Not everyone is blessed enough to enjoy exercising for the sake of exercising. Yet we all know that along with watching the foods we eat, it’s necessary to burn calories to lose weight. What you might not realize though is that there are some ways of burning those calories that may offer better weight loss results. The more you know about slow vs. fast cardio and what it can mean for your weight loss efforts, the sooner you can achieve your weight loss goals.
The Numbers Game
When it comes to weight loss, the bottom line is how many calories you take in versus how many you burn. It doesn’t matter entirely how you burn them, as long as you’re burning them. Slow and fast cardio each offer health and fitness benefits and will net you weight loss results.
The question becomes: Which is better for overall weight loss? Slow of fast cardio?
Is Slow or Fast Cardio Better for Weight Loss?
The answer is that you need both in order to enjoy achievable and sustainable weight loss. It’s the combination of the two that provides the longest lasting health and fitness benefits. One significant reason for this is that you’re more likely to stay committed to your exercise program if you switch it up.
You burn zero calories if you do not exercise. So, whatever you choose, it needs to be something you can commit to several times a week at least, if not daily.
It also needs to be a choice that makes it easier for you to exercise. Things that can contribute to your success include exercise that:
- Doesn’t require a huge commitment of time.
- Can be done practically anywhere.
- Can be done without needing specialized equipment to complete a workout.
High-Intensity Interval Training
One of the most effective things you can do to amp up your metabolism and burn some serious body fat is to add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine.
The good news —
With High intensity Interval Training, you get all the benefits of a full workout in short bursts of intense exertion followed by exercises that require far less exertion to complete. And, you don’t experience quite the same degree of aches and pains once the workout is complete because you’re enjoying periods of rest in between those bursts of high-intensity training.
How effective is it? Time reports that sedentary people who performed HIIT three times each week for six weeks saw significant improvements in their blood sugar levels and their aerobic capacities – both excellent measures of physical fitness. Their total workouts for each of those three days took ten minutes to complete from start to finish.
To be wildly successful with exercise is to get your heart rate into the target zone. That requires less strenuous activity depending on your starting fitness level.
Shape magazine encourages HIIT training because it helps you burn calories without melting muscle – something that often occurs with strictly cardio routines that don’t involve weight training.
Combine this type of workout with a diet that restricts carbs and you can have a real winner on your hand for melting fat and maximizing your weight loss efforts. This is especially beneficial for those who are using low-carbing to reach fat loss targets while exercising for fitness.
The real beauty of HIIT workouts, though is that it continues to burn fat long after the workout ends (up to 24 hours following your workout). This is something that doesn’t happen when you’re only doing slow or fast cardio workouts. Remember, burning calories is the key ingredient in weight loss and when your efforts continue to pay off long after they’ve ended, you’ve got a keeper.
Variation is the Key
You can net more impressive weight loss results by working out at intervals where you switch from fast to slow cardio exercises. If you do the same thing, day after day, your body can become essentially immune to the benefits it has to offer.
For instance, if you run one mile every day without varying your workout routine, your fitness routine will require less work and fewer opportunities to burn than when it was new and different. Introducing small changes like:
- Running up stairs once a week.
- Adding weight training a couple of times weekly.
- Spending one day rowing.
can make a huge difference to your weight loss effort.
Putting it All Together
All these things add up to one simple truth that we alluded to at the beginning of this article: you need to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight. Now, you’re more likely to stay committed to HIIT training — especially when you begin seeing the results.
For many people, the bottom line is that it doesn’t necessarily matter which is better for your overall weight loss because both slow and fast cardio to contribute to your weight loss potential. The key is to burn calories in a way that keeps you committed and works best for you.
One final point: always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.