High Intensity vs. Low Intensity Cardio – Which Is Better?

Cardio – we all hate it (well, most of us). It’s potentially the most boring thing that a bodybuilder can do – walking a treadmill or stepper and going nowhere quickly. Cardio is a necessary evil, however. It’s needed to get a lean, ripped physique. Cardio is also essential for overall health and well-being. It makes our hearts pump more efficiently and helps ward off obesity. But no matter its importance, it’s still boring as hell. But what if there’s a way to increase the body’s ability to burn fat while cutting down the time spent doing cardio? It sounds like this is an infomercial, but it’s not.

Research is showing that higher intensity exercise, in both resistance training and aerobic training, is more effective for weight loss than low-intensity exercise. It’s obvious, yes, but one of the prevailing schools of thought says that prolonged, low-intensity cardio is best for fat loss. The reason that high-intensity cardio is more effective than low-intensity cardio is that one’s metabolism is elevated for an longer after doing high-intensity training than after low-intensity training. And a higher metabolism means more fat loss.

So up the intensity during your cardio sessions. It’ll be more effective, and it may keep you sane.


Alahmadi MA, Hills AP, King NA, Byrne NM. Exercise intensity influences nonexercise activity thermogenesis in overweight and obese adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Apr;43(4):624-31.

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