T Nation

CARDIO- Low or High Intensity


I'm just trying to lose a little bodyfat and I was wondering if I should start a low or high intensity program. I came across this "HIIT" program the other day that consisted of jogging for 30 seconds preceded by doing an all out sprint for 30 seconds.Starting out, I would only go up to 4 minutes, but after a few weeks I would be finishing at 15. Is this program too extreme for bodybuilding? Will this cause my body to burn too much muscle?


As a general rule of thumb, I recommend either doing very low intensity work (<70% max heart rate) or the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) you outlined. It's the stuff in the middle that'll make you skinny and weak. See my "Cardio Confusion" article for details.


in my opinion and experience, high intensity cardio work is superior to low intensity in many different ways. you could try the sprints you said tabata style, 20 seconds on 10 seconds off....i also sometimes use several (4-5) exercises tabata style as my cardio workout. tabata is a very good cardio tool because you can pick which exercises and muscles you want to work and just do them tabata style (usually bodyweight, i dont recommend using weights on tabata unless your doing squats or thrusters) and that will give you a great cardio workout. check out crossfit for more really good cardio workouts to use for your conditioning and to add to weight training


I am a big fan of HIIT for a few reasons. First off if you want to improve your cardio endurance low intensity won't do very much. HIIT is much better for increasing endurance. HIIT also increases your efficiency in the gym/track because it takes much less time and is generally lower impact than running slowly for long distances.