Cardio exercises are still the easiest physical exercises to begin with for various reasons. These include the use of natural movements (e.g., walking, running, and climbing), the ease of starting without a special equipment except for the right exercise gear, and the opportunity to exercise outdoors or indoors, such as in a commercial gym like the New York Sports Club.
You also have the choice between high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and low-intensity steady state cardio (LISS). You can choose from either one of these types, of course, but first you should have basic information about each one for a smarter decision.
HIIT consists of short intervals of intense activity alternating with low-moderate intensity work. For example, your HIIT will consist of alternating sets of 30-second sprint with 1-minute steady pace walk for 4 minutes, which means that your heart pumps and goes back to normal with each set.
LISS consists solely of low-moderate intensity work performed on or off a cardio equipment. For example, you may walk or run on a treadmill while still being able to conduct a conversion with your exercise buddy, an all too common sight in gyms.
LT and AD Explained
In order to understand the pros and cons of HIIT and LISS, a basic understanding of lactate threshold (LT) and anaerobic threshold (AT) is a must. Both are effective indicators of performance of cardio (i.e., aerobic) exercises.
Keep in mind, too, that there are two main ways that your muscle can burn blood sugars (i.e., glucose), namely, aerobic and anaerobic exercises. HIIT is considered as anaerobic (without air) work while LISS is aerobic (with air) work.
Also, HIIT and LISS produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a nucleoside triphosphate used in transporting chemical energy for metabolism. In layman’s terms, ATP is the quick burst of physical energy in your muscles when these are contracted, such as when performing a bicep curl.
Bringing them all together, HIIT hits both AT and LT as well as produced more ATP in comparison with LISS. This means that HIIT will produce better results in terms of increased metabolic rate, fat loss, and muscle growth even days after the exercise routine has been completed.
But this doesn’t mean that LISS can be dismissed. You are well-advised to combine HIIT and LISS for various reasons, such as the fact that you should let your body rest from HIIT for maximum recovery and gains. You have to remember, too, that HIIT can be dangerous when incorrectly done so you may want to start with LISS.