What type of cardio should you do?

Jul 10, 2015

By ultra marathon athlete Michael Heimes

With the popularity of high intensity and time restricted fitness techniques, many proponents of HIIT cardio don’t just talk about the how’s and why’s of the technique, but they also disparage long slow steady cardio. I can’t say why they do this. I guess when people have great belief and faith in a concept, they feel the need to knock opposing concepts down a few notches. If everything else but what you like is bad and useless, that what you like is not only the best way.. but the ONLY way! Plus if you make money off of HIIT and HIIT only, you don’t want people thinking there are alternatives. There have been articles popping up about how long steady state cardio does NOTHING to burn fat. Do you see a lot of overweight, flabby endurance athletes? I sure don’t!

There is no arguing the benefits of HIIT no matter what your goal is. Whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, a faster 5k time, etc. People love HIIT because they grunt, they sweat, they throw things around. The adrenaline and the subsequent endorphins make you feel like an animal. All this and you can get a workout done and get a quick shower before your brown rice is done cooking! But to think HIIT is the only way, or even the best way to burn fat is a mistake!

As we have already posted on The Moyer Method, I recently had the honor and pleasure to trek with Ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek during is on-going record attempt for thru-hiking the entire 2175 mile Appalachian Trail. Scott’s typical days are transversing 50 miles with 10,000ft of cumulative elevation gain. I can assure you that Scott isn’t doing HIIT during this incredible undertaking. It's pure steady state cardio. This is an EXTREME case, of course, but look at the two pics at the end of this article and you can see just how effective steady state cardio can be at burning fat:

http://bit.ly/Scott_Jurek

Even though steady state cardio takes… well, longer, there are benefits from it that you can’t get from HIIT. One example is a much larger increase in the number of mitochondria. Mitochondria are small structures inside human cells that produce energy. They work to change the energy gained from into cellular energy that powers the muscles and tissue of the body. Who wouldn’t want more mitochondria?!

–Michael


 

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