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Which Type of Cardio is Best for Fat Loss?

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There are so many different types of cardio for fat loss out there, LISS, MISS, HIIT, metabolic conditioning and circuits. These are just some of the common methods thrown around when discussing optimal fat loss. With so many options available, and so many skewed opinions about each, how do we know which type is most effective for fat loss? The truth is, they all have their place and benefits in this discussion, choosing the right one for you will come down to a few select circumstances that determine which is most ideal for your individual benefit.

Cardio vascular training is a type of exercise that we perform for a variety of reasons, these include, improving heart health, increasing fitness levels, improving aerobic capacity and of course, reduction of body fat. While all of these goals are valid and beneficial, for the sake of this article we will be focused on those who wish to utilize cardio as a tool towards aiding in fat loss, this will allow us to determine the specific types of cardio that are best suited towards this goal and the specific times that are best to perform them.

Lets begin with LISS, this is a brilliant option for cardio, despite the longer duration, as it is low impact and can have great benefits for mental clarity, blood flow and recovery from strength training, all while improving your body’s ability to oxidise fat. If fat loss is the primary goal and reason for introducing cardio into your training protocol, then there are two times during the day that getting your LISS cardio sessions done will be most effective. Number one is first thing in the morning, ideally before you consume your first meal. This will ensure that you’re in a fasted state, allowing your body to tap into its stored energy reserves (in the form of body fat) and use those to fuel the activity being performed. The second time you can perform LISS cardio for increased fat reduction is post workout. After your weight training sessions your Glycogen stores are depleted, placing you body in a state of deficiency, essentially putting you in a near fasted state, similar to that which you are in when you wake up in the morning. Again, as there is little glucose available to take from to fuel your cardio, the body will be encouraged to access stored body fat to fuel the activity. When Doing Low-Intensity-Steady-State cardio, you should aim to keep your heart rate at around 50-60% of maximum effort, making for quite a maintainable effort that can be sustained over a duration of 20-60 minutes.

HIIT cardio is something that is often brought up as a superior way to burn calories and promote fat loss. While this is not inherently incorrect, there is a time and a place for High-Intensity-Interval-Training. HIIT is a far more intensive and exhausting form or cardio that requires bursts of all-out maximum effort followed by short rest periods. As it is far more taxing on the body, HIIT cardio, unlike LISS should be fueled and not performed in a fasted state as this can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue for fuel. While this means HIIT burns less calories during the exercise itself than LISS, it does however compensate for this by stimulating the ‘after burn effect’, meaning your body will be continuously burning more calories post training throughout the day, balancing out the total calories burnt through exercise. Implementing HIIT cardio is fantastic when time restricted as it usually takes a quarter of the time that LISS does. HIIT is also a great way to break through weight loss plateaus, pushing you further into a caloric deficit without spending hour and hours on cardio machines in the gym.

While all types of cardio to burn fat have their place, it is important to see them as tools that we can use to get one step closer to our goals. The type of cardio you decide to implement should be chosen based on your individual circumstances, which one fits best into your life and which do you gain more enjoyment from? Lastly, if lifestyle and commitments prevent you from achieving any of these conditions to perform your cardio under, there is no need to fret, just remember that primarily our goal is to get the cardio done, regardless of the conditions, put in the work and you will see the results. These timing strategies and varied types of cardio are just little tricks we can use to optimise the results of our efforts, potentially increasing the rate and efficiency of fat loss. Basically, the best fat burning cardio for you is going to be one that you can consistently stick to and you’ll see the fat loss pay off.

Author Glen George from our Blackburn store!

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