Cardio training.


27 Mar Cardio training.

What should I do?

When it comes to cardiovascular training there are basically two types

  1. Aerobic training or low intensity steady state (LISS) and
  2. Anaerobic training or high intensity training (HIIT).

If you think ‘marathon runner vs sprinter’ you are on the right lines. There is a whole host of scientific information to distinguish between the two, but for this article we will keep it simple and use the marathon runner vs sprinter to distinguish between the two types.

Before you make your mind up on which one you think is best, I am going to run through a few pros/cons and give you some information on both of them, and then you can make up your own mind.

First off, information on both:

Aerobic or (LISS)

  • Low intensity
  • Longer in duration; 30-60 minutes or longer
  • You can sustain it for a longer period of time
  • Less intense
  • Increases stamina, fitness and heart health
  • Examples are walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, X-training

Anaerobic or (HIIT)

  • High intensity
  • Short in duration; 10-30 seconds work followed by a period of rest
  • You can only sustain for a short period of time
  • Very intense
  • Increases stamina, fitness and heart health
  • Examples are sprints, medicine ball work, prowlers/sleds, burpees

Calorie burn

The good news is both different types of cardio work burn calories, however, it can vary slightly. For example, if you ran steadily steadily on the treadmill for 30 minutes and tracked your calories burned, they would be a good bit more than if you did 15-20 minutes of HIIT work. However, once you step off the treadmill after your LISS run, then that is pretty much where your body will stop burning calories. On the other hand, after 15-20 minutes of HIIT, the calories burned can seem pretty paltry for the effort you have put in… However, because the work is so intense you can actually end up burning calories for up to 48 hours post exercise, leading to a massive calorie burn.


Another thing to take into consideration when you are planning a cardiovascular session is which one fits into your current lifestyle. Do you have the time? How are your stress levels? Feeling fatigued or energetic?

For example, if you are busy at work and you are stressed out to the max then hopping on a stationary bike or going for a brisk walk in the fresh air to clear your head for 40 minutes may be the best and easiest way to get some exercise, rather than putting yourself under even more stress with a really intense HIIT session. Alternatively, if you are stuck for time and minding the kids at home and have no way of getting to the gym, then 10-15 minutes of HIIT work might suit you better when you get a spare 30 minutes or if you can’t see yourself being able to commit to a longer period of exercise.

Some pros and cons of both

  • Pro – Aerobic training can be less stressful in the joints if done correctly (long drawn out running sessions can be taxing on the joints)
  • Con – It can be hard to find the time
  • Pro – Anaerobic training is time efficient
  • Con – overdoing the likes of jumps/bounds etc can be quite stressful on joints
  • Pro – Aerobic training burns calories
  • Con – It has no “after burn” effect
  • Pro – Anaerobic training burns calories
  • Con – It can be quite intense and tough to complete if just starting off on your fitness journey


My take on it

To be honest, I would be a fan of incorporating both types of cardio work into your fitness plan. Here’s why…

HIIT training, for me, is more beneficial to the busy average person when it comes to getting a massive calorie burn and improving your fitness when you have a small window of opportunity to get some training in.

However, due to this extra demand on people when it comes to work, family, business life then getting away from everything, for example a 40 minute walk in the fresh air, can be more beneficial to someone as much mentally as well as physically.

My advice

Don’t be one or the other when it comes to choosing cardio work. They can both serve a very valuable purpose when it comes to improving body composition, fitness, mental and all over better health so look to incorporate both types into your training routine.

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