Many forms of cardio exist, with words such as LISS, MISS, HIIT, Circuits and Metabolic Conditioning thrown around when it comes to determining which method to perform for fat loss. Cardiovascular training, or ‘cardio’ as it is commonly referred to, can serve a variety of different purposes, including improving heart health, fitness levels and aiding weight loss. For those who wish to use this as a tool toward their weight loss goals, there are certainly specific types of cardio that are more beneficial for fat loss, as well as specific times that are better suited to perform these. By performing the right type of cardio at the right time, you better your chances of losing body fat and reaching your goals faster.
The best time for perform cardio for fat loss is first thing in the morning. You should perform it before you consume your breakfast, therefore in a fasted state. This will allow you to tap into stored energy reserves (body fat) and use this to fuel your activity. During this time, you should perform LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State), whereby you keep your heart rate between 50-60% of your maximum effort. Therefore, it is quite an achievable, maintainable effort, that should be kept up for between 20 – 45 minutes. Methods include brisk walking, bike riding, or using any other piece of cardio machinery.
The second best time to perform cardio when trying to attain fat loss is after you weight training workout. This is because during your training, you would have depleted your glycogen stores and will be almost in a fasted state again, similar to as you are when you wake up in the morning. This will again encourage stored body fat to fuel this activity, and you should also perform LISS for a similar duration of time.
HIIT is a hot topic when it comes to performing cardio for fat loss, often viewed as a highly effective method. HIIT describes High-Intensity Interval Training, whereby you perform at your maximum effort such as by doing a sprint for 20 – 30 seconds, followed by a rest period of 30 – 60 seconds. This sequence is repeated for approximately 15 minutes, and is far more intense and exhausting then LISS training. This form of cardio should be implemented when you notice a stall or plateau in your fat loss efforts, after having performed only LISS so far. Unlike LISS, HIIT can be performed at any time of the day that suits, but shouldn’t be performed in a fasted state. Therefore, it is not ideal to perform HIIT first thing in the morning or post weight training. The reason being, training of this nature if of a high intensity, and when dieting, the priority should be to retain as much muscle mass as possible. HIIT training at the wrong time can jeopardise your efforts at retaining muscle, so ensure if you need to resort to this method of training that you are fueled adequately.