Interval Vs Steady State Cardio: The Final Verdict

I'll admit it: I absolutely hate doing cardio.

That's why I When I discovered research showing interval cardio to be far superior to steady-state for fat loss, improved condition and general fitness, I got pretty darned excited!

It turns out that interval training is superior to steady state cardio almost all of the time. There are some specific situations where LSD (long slow distance) work is appropriate – for example, when building a base level of conditioning, or training for an endurance sport (this turns out to be debatable as well). But interestingly, interval cardio seems to give us the best of both worlds.

For example, in a classic study, Tabata et al. tested two groups for a six week period using either a moderate intensitycardio program, 60 minutes 5x a week, or a very high intensity, four-minute long program – 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, done eight times . This program was also repeated 5x a week. The interesting thing was that the interval group increased both in anaerobic and aerobic performance, while the moderate-intensity group, while improving aerobic capacity, did not improve anaerobic measures.

What this means : You can make improvements in aerobic fitness (as in traditional steady state cardio – like jogging) by doing intervals. You also end up improving measures you might expect – like muscular endurance and power production.

What's more, in further research, Tabata also found interval cardio to be superior for producing changes in body composition (means more fat loss). And, it can be done in a shorter period of time than traditional cardio.

Convinced yet? Hope so 🙂 Here are some ideas for high intensity cardio:

Tabata Protocol

As used in the study:

20 seconds all out effort

10 seconds rest

Repeat 8 times

Add 5 minute warm-up and cool-down

Can be done with anything from sprints, bike, bodyweight exercises – the key is, this is a very brief workout, but it has to be really hard! You should not feel like doing anything else after you're done!

Outdoor cardio workout

Run about 1/4 mile

15 burpees

Run 1/4 mile

30 bodyweight squats

Run 1/4 mile

20 push-ups

Run 1/4 mile

15 split squat jumps each leg


"Fartlek" Run

Run, changing pace at desired intervals, speed up and slow down (example: Sprint 1 telephone pole, walk the next, sprint, etc.

So – the final verdict on interval vs. steady-state cardio? Intervals win! They're superior for increases in aerobic and anerobic fitness, they're better for changes in body composition, and they're faster and more efficient. So try incorporating the workouts above into your current cardio routine for improved fat loss results today!

Source by Forest Vance