HIIT Vs Steady Cardio – What's The Difference?

Many people do not understand the difference between doing a steady cardio workout and doing high intensity interval training (HIIT). This article will define what each is and the benefits and flaws of each one. Then, it will outline the major differences between the two and suggest to you the best one, in terms of what your goals are.

High Intensity Interval Training

What is it?

HIIT exercises are short but intestinal workouts designed to improve your glucose metabolism, which increases your overall fat burning process, and to improve your athletic abilities. The normal routine for HIIT is to do 30 – 40 seconds of sprinting and then 15 – 20 seconds of walking, split for 15 – 20 minutes. However, I notice that my clients get burned out by the 20th second of the sprint; therefore, I make them sprint as hard as possible for 20 seconds and then jog lightly for 40 seconds. They still get the same results since, when normal HIIT is done with 30 – 40 second sprints, they get so burned out by the first 20 seconds that the 10 – 20 seconds they have left, ends up being a jog anyway.

Is it effective?

HIIT is very effective for what it does. Not only will it burn fat at a more rapid pace, it also boosts the metabolism, so the fat loss continues through the day. In addition, the sprint boost HGH (human growth hormone), which helps keep that hard earned muscle and lose that annoying fat.

Is there any drawbacks?

Yes, with the intensity of this exercise it's easy to overtrain if you do it every day. By overtraining, you would put your body in a state in which it tends to store fat and in which you would feel consistently tired. In addition to overtraining, the sprinting would be brutal on your knees if you were to do it every day. Give your body some rest and do HIIT 2 – 3 times a week, with plenty of rest in between.

Steady Cardio

What is it?

Steady cardio means picking a jogging speed, or a certain running speed, and running at the speed the entire time. This type of cardio does not necessarily mean that you have to run; it can also be done on a bike or elliptical. Doing steady rate cardio takes up to an hour to do, but it burns a good amount of calories in the process. The good thing about steady rate cardio is that it can be done in between the days you do HIIT. Since it's not as intense as HIIT, you can do it after every workout, and keep shedding off fat at a steady rate. In fact, it's what I do every time I begin my summer cut.

Is it effective?

Yes it is effective, especially if done in between your HIIT workouts. Instead of doing one specific form of cardio, combining both steady rate cardio and HIIT will give you the best of both worlds. You can do HIIT to boost your metabolism and, on the days in between, do steady rate cardio to continue burning calories but not risk overtraining or destroying your knees. The benefit of doing steady rate cardio is that it can be effective if done on a treadmill or elliptical or stationary bike. However, the benefit of HIIT diminishes if done on a stationary bike or elliptical as opposed to a treadmill.

Is there any drawbacks?

If done on a treadmill, the prolonged running can be brutal on the knees; however that can easily be avoided by doing steady cardio on a stationary bike or an elliptical. Another drawback is that steady cardio will not get you the results you seek as fast as HIIT can. This can easily be avoided, if you do what I suggest and you do steady cardio on your days off HIIT.

Which one is better?

To tell you the truth, as opposed to looking which one is better, you should be incorporating both of them in your cardio workout. Why single one out when you can have the best of both worlds? Do HIIT about 2 – 3 times every week and in between do some steady cardio, nothing too intense. This will guarantee that you keep burning away at that stubborn fat to reveal your dream body underneath.

Source by Nikola Maric