Moderate Cardio VS HIIT: Pros + Cons

As we've learned from 5 Essential Rules To Burning Fat the key to burning Fat in the quickest and most efficient way is by optimising Burning Fat outside of the gym. However, to increase your Fat Loss further over time you can supplement your training with cardio vascular focused training. Cardio Vascular focused training (or 'Cardio') is exercise that isolates working your heart and lungs, with only marginal emphasis on muscular adaption in the bid to burn a little extra Fat without over training. As we know, building our muscles through lifting weights creates a much more potent overall Fat Burning effect on our bodies, but it's very taxing for our Metabolism, hormones and our Nervous System, so must be done sparingly. Cardio Training allows us to burn extra Fat without further stressing these systems.

Moderate Cardio

Definition; Slow paced, long duration exercise. E.g. Slow Walking/ Cycling.


Physically easy to perform for long periods.

Can be done outside in a casual manner.

Very little equipment needed.

Easy enough to concentrate on a secondary task, like reading.

Has a high ratio of Fat burning vs Glucose Burning.

Suitable for all trainee levels.

No athletic ability required.

Easily incorporated in exchange of motorised transport.

Injury friendly.

Increases Nutrient delivery to recovering muscles.


Very un-stimulating/ boring.

Takes a long time.

Doesn't burn that much overall energy.

Generally only utilises the legs.

Low to no Metabolic After-burn effect.

Little to no improvement in cardio vascular output.

Must be done 3-4hrs after eating for best Fat burning effect.

Can still cause Over Training if done too often.


Can cause Catabolism when performed for very long periods.

HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training:

Definition; Very rigorous and fast paced exercise, with intermittent Rest periods.


Very Stimulating.

Takes a very short time.

Burns a lot of overall energy.

Can be used to stimulate all muscle groups.

Fairly high metabolic After Burn affect.

Induces notable improvements in Cardio Vascular output.

Big 'feel good' factor upon completion.

Improves capillary density and oxygen delivery of muscles involved.


Very Physically demanding and exhausting.

Equipment is needed for a specific body part approach.

Full concentration and commitment is needed throughout.

Low Ratio of Fat Burn vs Glucose Burn.

Some athletic ability required.

Cannot be easily exchanged in place of motorised transport.

Not friendly to Injuries.

Can cause Over Training symptoms and temporarily halt recovery of sore muscles.

See below for examples of how to approach each form of Cardio Exercise.

Moderate Cardio:

This can be performed 2-3 times per week as part of your overall Exercise program (Weight Training 3-4 times per week).


Walking on a treadmill or outside at a moderate pace for 20-30mins.


Cycling at medium resistance or Walking Uphill on an Inclined Treadmill/ hill for 30-45mins.


Cycling at a medium resistance level while maintaining an RPM of 70 or above for 30-60mins. OR jogging for 30-60mins.


Can be performed 2-3 times per week as part of your overall exercise program (Weight Training 3-4 times per week).

Beginner - no equipment

Walk at a moderate pace for 2mins then at a much higher pace for 30 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times over 10-12min.

Intermediate - equipment needed; treadmill or cycling machine

Moderate Uphill walk for 1min then at a jogging pace for 1min. OR Cycle at moderate pace on low resistance for 1min then faster pace on higher resistance for 1min. Repeat 4-5 times over 10-12min.

Advanced - equipment needed: treadmill or cycling machine

Flat or Uphill moderate jog for 1min then sprint for 30 seconds. OR Cycle at moderate resistance for 1min then Sprint on higher resistance for 1min. Repeat 4-5 times over a 10-12min period.

Dynamic - equipment needed: Barbell

HIIT can be used on specific body parts too. Take a light weight barbell and perform reps on an exercise (e.g. Squat) for 30 seconds, then rest 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times (beginner), 7-8 times (Intermediate), 10-12 times (Advanced).


More energy will be burned during HIIT compared to Moderate Cardio. However, Moderate Cardio training may be more practical for most people, as it can be performed straight after a weight training session or incorporated into a daily routine outside the gym. More mental determiniation is needed for HIIT and requires some existing athletic ability. Either way, they should both be viewed as only supplements to an effective weight lifting and diet program.

Happy Lifting!

PLEASE COMMENT BELOW on your favourite form of cardio!


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