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So I’m going back on my word.

I guess this could sound like a contradiction.

See, I’ve always come across as pretty anti-cardio.

I bash long-form cardio and decry it as a method for burning fat.

Here’s why –

Your typical person who relies on long-form cardio (i.e. a 60-minute steady session on the treadmill, the elliptical or the recumbent bike) is around 20% body fat – possibly even higher.

They do their workout, finish up feeling, well – pretty fresh still, hardly having broken a sweat.

They repeat this 5, maybe even 6 days per week, and get …

Absolutely nowhere.

See, there are 2 reasons why this long-form cardio is absolutely useless for our above individual.

1. They’re not focusing on their diet

It doesn’t matter how much cardio you do, if you’re not cutting down on junk, monitoring your caloric intake, and eating plenty of good, wholesome, clean foods, you simply won’t burn fat.

2. They’re not an endurance athlete

This slow, steady state cardio definitely has a place if you’re a runner, a triathlete, a cyclist, or if boosting stamina is your main goal.

If not, it’s a pretty lousy way to torch fat.

Finding Your Foundation:

Before deciding on what the “best” form of cardio is, you need to sort out your foundation.

The foundation is the mode of training you base your whole routine around.

When it comes to fat loss, that needs to be weight training.

No ifs, no buts – weight training is by far the most effective way to rid yourself of unwanted body fat, torch calories and boost your metabolism.

After you’ve got this in place, taking the number 1 spot, it’s time to work out what comes in after the weights in terms of importance.

What is HIIT: 

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.

After weights and diet, it’s just about the best thing you can do to get that lean, ripped body.

It’s a form of cardio, but it’s far superior to long-form cardio.

HIIT combines very short but very intense, periods of all-out maximum effort – think sprinting, running up a hill, or even pedaling a stationary bike at a super-high resistance for all you’re worth.

You intersperse these “sprints” – whether they last 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or even a minute – with resting periods, where you don’t stop, but take it a bit easier to recover, and get ready for your next burst.

This cardio is seriously effective.

I’ve actually got a whole program dedicated to it, that’s how much I believe in it.

HIIT MAX™ has been downloaded by over 35,000 people in just the first 6mo of its creation, and is changing bodies and lives the world over, helping men and women shed fat faster than ever before.

Here’s why HIIT is so great –

  • You get an insane metabolism boost, which increases your body’s calorie burning potential.
  • You keep torching calories AFTER you finish working out
  • You get better results in less time
  • It helped me (and thousands of others) go from 25% body fat … to sub-10% body fat. It is that effective.

⚡ Related: Learn whether or not HIIT is right for you

What is LISS:

Another acronym for you – LISS.

That’s Low-Intensity Steady State.

Now LISS involves working at a low-intensity, and often fasted, on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning (which is actually what I’m doing in my own training right now.)

The benefits of LISS include –

  • It’s an easy way to burn a few extra calories without compromising recovery
  • It can actually aid muscle recuperation, helping you feel less sore
  • It’s easier to do on an empty stomach, so you get the fat-burning benefits of fasted cardio without wanting to throw up
  • It hardly takes any effort. It’s a simple, straightforward, calorie-burning “win”.

Once again, LISS should NOT be the foundation of any fat burning program.

Just like the scenario, we started this article with – our guy or girl at 20% body fat – making LISS the mainstay in your routine is not a smart option.

You need strength training and you need HIIT.

That being said, LISS does have a place for certain people.

The main reason for this is that the pace at which you do LISS (around 135 to 145 heartbeats per minute) is the optimal zone for burning fat without sacrificing muscle.

And when you’re already very lean, (i.e. sub-10% body fat) that matters.

The Cardio Continuum 

Here’s how it goes.

How you need to schedule your workouts, your foundations, and your priorities –

1. Strength Work OR HIIT

Ideally, I’d like you to make strength training the key player in your regime.

But HIIT works too – if you do it right.

A program like HIIT MAX™ for example, incorporates strength training as a form of cardio, so you can choose this, or traditional strength training supersets and circuits.

2. LISS

This should always be seen as an addition.

If you’re starting your journey, it’s unlikely to be the best use of your time, but if you need a simple way to burn a few extra calories, or are pretty much “there” and just looking to burn some flab while preserving muscle, add LISS after your HIIT or strength work, or do a little first thing in the morning.

3. Long-Form Cardio

For most folks, this just isn’t needed.

But if you want to increase your endurance, or partake in an event like a marathon or triathlon at the same time as getting lean, then make some time for slow, steady, longer duration cardio.

There you have it.

Cardio has a place in everybody’s routine, it’s just that the type of cardio you do, and how you prioritize it depends entirely on your goals, and where you are in your transformation.

So, what method of cardio were you using and will you make some changes?

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