HIIT vs Steady State Cardio

HIIT vs Steady State Cardio

in Cardio/Fitness/Move by

As cliché as it sounds, it is somewhat true: Ladies and the treadmill seem to have some sort of undying bond. We have been programmed to think that if we do hours of mundane jogging our love handles and muffin tops will disappear. That might not be the case though. Today we discuss what is the most effective way to lose fat – is it steady cardio or is it high intensity intermittent training (HIIT)?

Let’s define the two terms first,
Steady State Cardio: Heart rate increasing exercises that you perform at 60-70% of your maximal capacity for 20 minutes or more. The most common steady state cardio exercises are walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and the elliptical.

HIIT: A type of training where you alternate between short very high intensity exercises and periods of slower intervals to recover. A typical HIIT workout usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 ratio, meaning your recovery intervals are twice as long as the work intervals. As you get better and fitter, you gradually reduce your recovery times and increase the intensity of the harder intervals. Jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and burpees are some of the exercises carried out during HIIT sessions.

Which is Better?
Steady state cardio will burn fat. HIIT, however, will burn more fat even after you finish your exercise sessions, increase your endurance, and work your body in a more dynamic way. Yes, we all hate burpees, but they build body strength and burn fat simultaneously.

What happens after your workout and how your body responds to exercise is just as important as the training session themselves. HIIT has been shown to increase your resting metabolism and make your body more efficient at using fat reserves for fuel. So even while you are sitting at your office desk, you are burning more fuel than your colleague!

As always, being safe is the most important thing when it comes to exercising. If you are just starting out, HIIT is not recommended because of the level of endurance that is needed to perform the exercises correctly and efficiently. Start off with steady state cardio until you are at a level where you feel like you can take on more, and push yourself a little harder.

The benefits cardio has on our body and heart are endless. By getting our heart rate up, stressing our body to work as hard as possible, we decrease our resting heart rate and blood pressure, and improve our circulation. Remember, whether it’s going for a morning run or doing some sprints as fast as you can, just find what you love and do your cardio and always work that heart muscle!

Donia Hilal is a certified nutritionist with a degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. Her work focuses on women’s health in the Middle East, wellness, weight loss, and optimal pre- and post-natal nutrition. Passionate about real food and evidence based nutrition advice, Donia welcomes and enjoys guiding clients throughout every stage of their journey towards a healthier, happier life.

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