Cardio- Do or Don’t?

Firstly, Abu Dhabi Personal Trainers are not here to dismiss all cardio or tell you ‘only’ to complete certain workouts. No. We believe in balance but, more-so, it’s important human’s find activities that they enjoy. Similarly, it is great to set targets. One of our very successful client here in Abu Dhabi, Asma, wanted set her target as ‘run 5km without stopping’ which she quickly achieved and so (you guessed it) she moved to 10km. This was cardio and this was a target achieved.

This blog is more about the benefits of HIIT (high intensity interval training) like sprints and weight training over steady-state or continuous-cardio like jogging, cycling and swimming.

These days here at Abu Dhabi Personal Trainers we see a lot of articles and blogs which dis-credit those who prescribe cardio. There is a lot more promotion of weight and interval training. Steady-state cardio has been losing the popularity battle to HIIT, CrossFit, indoor- interval cycle classes and even high intensity yoga!

To summarise, it isn’t so clear. There are many studies out there that fight for each corner.

We here at Abu Dhabi Personal Trainers recently discovered an article published in October 2015 of the Sports Medicine (New Zealand) journal, hugely entitled: ‘Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Continuous Endurance Training for VO2max Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials’ (take a breath). It’s researchers analyzed multiple HIIT Vs cardio trials and took place and declared HIIT the winner. However, within the small print, researchers actually described the conclusion as saying HIIT had “a possibly small beneficial effect” over cardio.

HIIT isn’t called high intensity interval training for nothing! It’s tough and most people don’t do HIIT regularly because it is so hard.

According to this study some people prefer a longer, less taxing route to fitness. Whether or not the difficult intensity of HIIT is worth the benefits is up to the individual. ADPT’ see a lot of clients with limited time to train and so getting the most benefit to time ratio is our prescription.

Researchers compared the after-burn (the amount of O2 your body needs to return to its normal, resting metabolic state. Simply put: more oxygen needed, more calories burned) of the workouts. They concluded that both HIIT and weight training produced more after-burn than cardio for up to 21 hours post-exercise.

But going back to the original point, enjoyment. You need to move an you need not to hate it. Stay safe and be consistent!

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