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Steady state cardio vs. HIIT: how much of it do you do?

Now that we've covered both HIIT and steady-state cardio, let's go over the main differences between the two.

The difference between steady-state and HIIT is that a HIIT workout is where the individual exerts their max effort , which can't be sustained for a long time. Whereas steady-state cardio is a low-to-moderate effort that can be maintained for a longer period of time.

During HIIT, your heart rate is close to its max, maybe around 160 bpm, depending on who you are, and sustained for a brief amount of time, maybe 15-30 seconds. 

After that brief, intense bout, you recover for a short period of time and repeat. HIIT is pretty brutal, but the good part is, it's brief and time-effective. It has benefits, as I talked about in the last podcast. But it's not for everyone. If you are new to exercise, have cranky joints, hormone imbalances, etc., HIIT might not be your exercise of choice until you get those things under control. 

Additionally, if you HATE that type of...

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Steady state cardio: how much should you do for the best fitness results?

Today I want to piggyback on last week's blog post about HIIT and dive into steady-state cardio. If you haven't read either of last weeks' blog posts, I'd highly recommend you read it because it has excellent information about the mitochondria, blood sugar, and how too much HIIT can harm you.

Over the next week, I will break down the difference between steady-state and HIIT cardio, the positives, and negatives of both, and provide a general framework of how you can incorporate both into your training. 

First, I want to talk about how the body adapts to exercise. It's essential to understand every individual's body will react differently, and that will determine if they are getting positive or negative results from their training. 

Adaptation is ultimately what we are looking for in our training. We want our muscles to be stronger, our heart to pump more effectively, and to be less out of breath when we walk up a flight of stairs. Exercise, in the proper dosages for your...

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How too much HIIT can kill your progress

Many medical and sports groups suggest intense interval training shouldn’t be completed more than three times/week to avoid these negative metabolic side effects. And from a joint health perspective, I agree that HIIT should not be used more than a few times/week, if at all. 

So if we can only gain the benefits of HIIT 2 to 3 days a week, are we just sedentary on the other days? Should we train in different ways on the days where we aren’t working out intensely? 

Another study that looked at the benefits of short, intense exercise vs. longer, more gentle workouts provides us with another interesting finding. 

The study took overweight men, divided them into groups, and had them exercise on a bike for a different amount of time and intensity. 

Group 1 performed short, all-out workouts on the bike such as 30-second sprints with minimal rest in between. This group only exercised 3 days/week. 

Group 2 exercised more moderately: 30-40 min on the bike...

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How to exercise to improve insulin sensitivity

HIITing the Books

Over the next two weeks, I want to talk about cardio: what it is, how much you need, and, most importantly, how much is overkill and could be setting you back. 

Most people agree that cardio is anything where you elevate your heart rate. When I was looking at the formal definitions, most will say that this requires rhythmic, repetitive movement of your limbs. 

Because most people consider cardio as repetitive/rhythmic moments, when most people think of cardio, they think of activities such as running, cycling, and swimming. This is also why most people don’t include weight lifting when they think of cardio. 

Therefore, it’s commonly thought that you need to do both: lift the weights and add on the running or biking. 

But do you really? And if so, exactly how much should you do? 

These are the questions I want to address over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to talk about the benefits and risks of different dosages of...

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Is HIIT good or bad for you? How to do HIIT without hurting yourself

A good exercise program will yield all the desirable benefits you're looking for (increased muscle mass, increased stamina, increased cardiac health, improved bone density, improved metabolic health, etc.) while minimizing wear and tear through joints. I always keep this in mind when discussing exercise. To me, it's simple, if it leads to the goal of improving overall health without the often significant trade-off of damaging joints, it's worth it.

 

HIIT has various metabolic benefits, and studies show that it is effective in preventing disease and aiding in weight loss.

 

However, many HIIT programs include high impact exercises, which tend to be controversial in the health-sciences world. 

 

Let's consider the pros and cons of high impact exercises: 

 

Pros of high-impact: 

Improved bone density

Studies have shown that high-impact exercise can help improve bone density (but so can resistance training!). 

 

Cons of high impact: 

...

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