People are always debating on which form of cardio is most beneficial for weight lose.Is it slow low intensity or high intensity interval training,better known as HIIT. Low intensity cardio would be along the lines of walking,where`as HIIT sessions would be sprinting,or hard intervals on say an exercise bike.Low intensity cardio has been the preferred style for most bodybuilders.There`s no denying you will burn fat,any style of exercise will burn fat ,but where here to talk about what will maximize our results,while maintaining muscle,maximize recovery and saving time and energy.
Too much cardio will impact on your resistance training,due to extra volume and less recovery time.This can lead to sub par training sessions that can then lead to muscle loss.Now muscle plays an important role in one`s metabolism,so less muscle we have or have lost,the slower our metabolic capacity ie slower metabolism.
Ok,so whats the most effective style of cardio?
Recent studies comparing Running(long distance) and cycling, showed that running caused greater declines in muscle mass.Also up hill walking has shown to reduce strength gains,largely due to the dissimilar range of motion compared to say cycling or fast sprints,which recruit similar muscles to say the Squat.Compare the physique to a long distance runner as apposed to a 100m sprinter and that should enlighten this point.
Intensity and duration are key factors here.The greatest fat loss actually occurs with the shortest duration and highest intensity exercises like sprinting.The longer we do cardio,the greater amount of muscle lose can occur.Now i`m definitely not saying never go for a jog,i`m just saying be aware and train accordingly to your goals.
Doing cardio with very high intensity and under 20min,will give you maximum results with minimal to no muscle lose.Now here i can talk on experience as iv tried all forms.The best iv looked is when cardio was kept to a minimum,as i then maintain more muscle which allowed me to get even leaner.
I know we see on most treadmills that to maximize fat burning,you should perform moderate cardio ,65% of your heart rate for around 40-60min.Yes you burn fat and this is somewhat very true,but what happens during exercise does not always reflect what will happen long term(ie muscle mass loss/recovery).
In conclusion try going back to doing HIIT style cardio like sprints,say by doing 6-10 sets of 15-30seconds all out,rest for 60-90 seconds then repeat.
Also try doing HIIT sessions on an exercise bike.Try doing 90-120 seconds easy,then go 30 seconds at maximum level as hard as possible,rest again and repeat cycle say 6 times.Try and separate these HIIT sessions at least 1 day away from leg day to optimize recovery and performance.
Again, i just want to stress the point that there is no right or wrong in cardio,this is more about what is optimal in trying to maximize your results ,while saving time and saving your hard earned muscle.