HITT vs. Moderate Cardio

These days everyone seems to be the expert on what cardio is best.  What machine for cardio is best.  So many different opinions out there.  Its enough to make your head spin.

We all have different goals and in such cardio is a basic component to anyone’s journey.  Whether its to maintain a fitness level, loose weight, compete no matter the program, cardio will be incorporated at some point.

Most people start with walking outside.  Moderate speeds are achieved and it definietly gets the heart pumping.

Moderate Intensity is defined as:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines the moderate-intensity heart rate zone as 50 percent to 70 percent of maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate varies by age and can be found by using a heart rate zone chart or calculator.

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Lately it seems HITT cardio is the new hot trend. These workouts involve changing the intensity, working harder for certain intervals throughout the routine.


HITT is defined as:

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.

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These shorter, more intense workouts can maximize your results whileshortening the length of time you have to spend working out.  For me this is HUGE.

When I prep for a show.  I’m in the gym for hours.  Cardio and Weight Lifting combined.  Sometimes twice a day.  Now I do choose this so I’m not looking for sympathy but I want to shed some light on the difference in cardio styles.

As a rule while I’m on prep I like to keep mt intensity up so that I can burn 100 calories per 10 minutes.  It helps keep my cardio sessions on point to where I need them to be to be efective.  So If I need to burn 300 calories for the deficite needed to deplete at the rate I want.  Then I need to make sure I hit this in 30 minutes.  Make sense?

If I am just doing cardio to do cardio and I reach 30 minutes and only burned 150 calories.  Then clearly my intensity isnt there and I’m taking a lot of time to burn the same calories that I could have burned more, if I focus on the intensity.  Its a waste of time for me.

So basically what I’ve learned in the last two preps is that the amount of cardio is not alwyas the same.  When I’m training for a show time is important.  I’m balancing training, family life, kids, husband, meal prep, house chores and life in general.  If I can get the effectivness of my cardio finished in less time and have it not only as effective but more effective than its a no brianer.

I put this to the test one time.  This sweet older lady got on the treadmill beside me and was putting moderate effort into her cardio.  I did my programs HITT and I wanted to see where the calories burned were after 20 minutes.

Well my caloric deficite was 245 calories while going HITT and hers was 125 calories burned doing moderate cardio in the same time.  Now thats a huge difference.  For her it was perfect for what she was trying to achieve and for me it was perfect too!


Now I will share my HITT sessions I’ve been doing on the treadmill.

Put the incline to level 12.  Set the pace to 3.9 and go for 5 minute intervals.  Every 5 minutes put the pace to 7.0 and sprint for 30 seconds.  Then put the pace back down to 3.9.  Every 5 minutes you again set the pace to 7.0 and all out sprint.  I promise its brutal and you will burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time.

Now I have to be open.  HITT has its great benefits but it also has its disadvantages.

HITT is extremely uncomforatble and pushes you way past your comfort zone.  Its not ideal for beginners as its extremely challenging for people who aren’t super active.  It also can burn you out super fast.

Some benefits of HITT is how many calories your body burns after your workout to get your system back to where it was before you exercised. HIIT can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health.  Allows for shorter work outs due to you working very hard, you get the benefits of training in less time than you would from slower, longer workout sessions.  Which is the part that I love.

Now at the end of the day cardio is cardio and no matter what lever you are at its beneficial.  keep pushing yourself and never give up.  We all start somewhere.




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