We will often see content which tells us about the most effective ways to burn fat in relation to the science but content on ‘’intelligent’’ application is far more rare. I liken it to those in school who could solve just about anything on paper, pass every exam with 110% yet lacked common sense. We all know people like this.
My point is, HIIT (high intensity interval training) is said to be 10 times more effective than low impact fast walking for example, and I wouldn’t disagree. It does help the body burn more calories around the clock, sure. However, it doesn’t mean that low impact exercise suddenly stops working. After all, people have used low impact cardio for years and achieved great results!
Here are 3 points I want you to carefully consider when deciding what form of exercise is best for YOU in regards to helping with fat loss outside of the gym, where you should be lifting weight.
1 – Time
Time will dictate to an extent what form of cardio is best for you. If you can spare 30-40 minutes a handful of times per week then low impact cardio is an option, however if 15-20 is your maximum then look at HIIT. Recently I had a client who had absolutely zero spare time, his day started at 4:45am and I didn’t want him getting up any earlier. So, post-weights he hits a 4 minute Tabata style workout on the rower and guess what? It works! A little common sense applied goes a long way.
2 – State of Health/Body Composition
How fit are you? Is your blood pressure healthy? Are you in good working order all the way from your cardiac system to your knee joints? Whilst HIIT is undeniably effective I wouldn’t prescribe it to an obese client. Why? Logically I don’t think sprinting is wise when you are in that state of health. Remember when you run twice your body weight travels through your knee joints! I also think it would be pushing their cardiac system a little too much, at that point in time. In contrast, if you are a super skinny ectomorph I think doing ANY low impact cardio for fat loss is almost pointless.
3 – Recovery Rate
If you are going through 1-2 intense lower body sessions a week then there is a good chance your legs might not be up to much more than fast walking, which is fine. Sometimes you have to go with instinct and know when something just doesn’t fit.
In an ideal world I would prescribe a mixture of low impact and HIIT exercise for fat loss, I think it helps and I think it’s good to do both. However as I have outlined there are times when I wouldn’t choose one, especially HIIT.