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The Best Types Of Cardio Workouts For Health And Fat Loss

Cardio trainings to improve your fitness

Cardio workouts can help you burn fat and they have many health benefits. We've previously talked about LISS vs. HIIT Cardio. In this article we will give you tips to increase your endurance and maximize fat loss.

What are the different types of cardio?

  • LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State): LISS cardio is defined as exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, running, cycling, etc.) lasting greater than 20 minutes with a low and steady intensity.
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training): HIIT cardio is an aerobic training (e.g., sprinting, cycling, etc.) that involves high intensity exercise at about 80-90% percent of your heart rate, followed by a rest. This cycle can be repeated for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  • HIIRT (High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training): HIIRT cardio is like HIIT, which involves high intensity exercises, but it also includes strength exercises. You can think of Tabata, CrossFit and Insanity for example.

What are the health benefits of cardio workouts?

All the cardio workouts can be beneficial for your overall health.

It is recommended to do 3+ cardio sessions per week since it has many benefits, such as:

  • Increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase insulin sensitivity (decrease insulin resistance, which is good for diabetes)
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Burn large amounts of calories
  • Increase fat oxidation
  • Increase energy levels

Which cardio is best for fat loss?

You need to be in a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you consume) in order to lose fat. All cardio workouts will make you burn calories. Therefore, help you lose fat if you're in a caloric deficit.

Which cardio workout should you do?

It all depends on your goals. Someone who's training for a marathon will not be training similarly than someone who's training for basketball. Check the differences between aerobic and anaerobic training on your muscle fibers.

Let's list the major benefits of the different cardio training styles:

  • LISS: it helps to improve aerobic endurance and can be performed by all body types and fitness levels.
  • HIIT and HIIRT: they help to improve anaerobic endurance, improve VO2 max (oxygen delivery to your muscles) and make you build muscle.

If your goal is to be healthy or to be a complete athlete, I would recommend you to perform all the different styles on a weekly basis. If you're beginner, you should primarily focus on LISS cardio and slowly get into HIIT / HIIRT cardio.

Now let's take a look at our example:

  • Marathon runner: their goal will be to mainly focus on LISS cardio, since aerobic endurance is what their activity requires. They can also include some HIIT workouts in order to improve their VO2 max and help them build slightly bigger muscles, which can help improve their pace if necessary.
  • Basketball player: they primarily need to focus on HIIT cardio, since basketball is an anaerobic sport. They can also include some LISS workouts in order to work on their aerobic endurance.

List of the best types of LISS cardio workouts

  • Walking
  • Steady running
  • Elliptical
  • Swimming
  • Steady cycling
  • Steady jumping rope
  • ...

List of the best types of HIIT cardio workouts

  • Walk and sprint
  • Slow and fast cycling
  • Jog and sprint
  • ...

List of the best types of HIITR cardio workouts

  • Bodyweight circuit
  • Walk, jump and sprint
  • Push up and battling rope
  • CrossFit
  • ...

In summary

  • LISS, HIIT and HIIRT are beneficial for your health.
  • LISS helps you increase your aerobic performance.
  • HIIT / HIIRT helps you increase your anaerobic performance.
  • HIIT / HIIRT make you burn more calories in a shorter period of time than LISS.
  • It's highly recommended to use them all.
  • Micah Zuhl, Ph.D. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.. "HIIT vs Continuous Endurance Training: Battle of the Aerobic Titans"
  • Fitness, Michael Wood. "High Intensity Interval Training Burns More Calories, in Half the Time, than Traditional Cardio Exercise."
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