Mix and match for best results

Long-distance runs like The Straits Times Run 2019 on Sept 29 are considered low-intensity, steady-state cardio, which burns more fat than it builds muscle.
Long-distance runs like The Straits Times Run 2019 on Sept 29 are considered low-intensity, steady-state cardio, which burns more fat than it builds muscle.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Looking to level up your runs? Here is a comparison of styles that burn the most calories and make you fitter

There are many types of running styles, and some burn more calories than others. Any type of running will give your body a cardio workout that helps you lose fat, so if you are already in a comfortable routine that works for you, there is no need to replace it.

However, if you are wondering how to create a routine that will maximise your calorie burning and fat loss, read on.

MAIN STYLES

As long as you move a little faster than a jog, that is considered running. It makes sense that there are many types of running styles.

The most popular ones are short runs, long-distance runs which are essentially low-intensity, steady-state cardio (Liss), sprints, and interval training.

BENEFITS OF HIIT

Interval training, or high-intensity interval training (Hiit), is the king of fat loss and explosiveness because you have to give 100 per cent for 30 seconds to a minute before resting and continuing.

This style of training is efficient and effective because your muscles exert their full potential in a short time.

Lots of calories will be burnt while building lean muscle as Hiit involves plyometrics, bursts of intense movement, and short rest times.

This explosiveness also puts the body under a lot of stress. So people who solely do Hiit should limit themselves to three sessions a week to prevent overtraining and injuries.

BENEFITS OF LONG RUNS

Long-distance runs increase endurance and stamina as you move at a steady pace over a longer time.

They are considered low-intensity, steady-state cardio, which usually burns more fat than it builds muscle because your body is not doing anything too intense.

This is why you might have noticed that marathon runners are leaner than sprinters.

Does this mean long-distance runs are better for burning fat than interval training? Not really.

Long runs take a much longer time, so you will be burning up quite a number of calories.

Interval training, on the other hand, can take just 20 minutes, while your body continues to burn calories after working out.

The additional muscle mass you build from interval training will also increase calorie burn during your resting and active states.

SO WHAT IS THE BEST PLAN?

Ultimately, this depends on personal preference.

However, it is clear that combining different running methods that complement each other will give you the best fat-loss results.

This does not mean you should do Hiit from Monday to Thursday, and do long-distance runs on the other days of the week.

Your routine has to be carefully arranged to ensure you have enough rest and energy for each day.

Your first session of the week can be a Hiit workout as your energy level is at its peak. You can follow up with a short run for active recovery, and a long run on the third day.

You can experiment with a mix of styles until you find the routine that works best for your body and schedule. It is important to incorporate at least one day of rest per week if you are training intensely, so your body has enough time to recover.

It is good to note that adding more resistance, such as an incline or rougher terrain, will always help to increase your fitness levels.

Sprinting faster, running farther, and having shorter but tougher intervals are all useful ways to help burn more calories and get fitter.

SHAPE SINGAPORE

• This article first appeared on www.shape.com.sg, Singapore's leading fitness and wellness site for women.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Mix and match for best results'. Print Edition | Subscribe