The debate continues as to what duration and intensity level is best for cardio: long duration and low intensity, short duration and high intensity (as in high-intensity interval training), or moderate duration and moderate intensity? Researchers from the University of Turku (Finland) looked at the latter two (moderate and high intensity) in Type 2 diabetic subjects and found both to be effective at increasing glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
In fact, they concluded that individuals should choose whichever cardio form suits their preferences and schedule. It stands to reason that this advice could apply to non-diabetics, too, at least in the context of promoting overall health, and possibly even aiding fat loss, since glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity both play roles in improving body composition.
Here are the two protocols used in the study (both employing a stationary bike), as published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. For your next cardio session, go ahead and pick whichever you’re in the mood for. To be clear, though, our stance is that HIIT cardio is superior to steady-state for fat burning.
High-Intensity Cardio Workout:
Four to six intervals comprising 30-second all-out-effort cycling (stationary bike) followed by 4 minutes of rest.
Moderate-Intensity Cardio Workout:
40-60 minutes of continuous cycling at 60 percent of VO2 max.