HIIT vs Steady State Cardio

HIIT vs Steady State Cardio…which is better?

When it comes to losing weight there are so many training methods out there it can sometimes feel like a minefield knowing what is best for you.  If you are not in the know then going to the gym might fill you with dread or make you question if you are working effectively towards your goals.

I still encounter plenty of people who believe that pounding the treadmill or cross trainer for hours on end is the number one way to achieve their goals.  Don’t get me wrong, every now and then it is great to throw this type of workout into the mix, but generally this type of workout left behind in the last millennium!

With the percentage of individuals nowadays wanting to lose their fat but still maintain their muscle being higher than it has ever been, I always encourage clients to adopt HIIT type workouts into their routines.  It also happens to be my preferred workout style when it is time to ramp up my own training.

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and in a nutshell requires individuals to workout at maximum effort over a short period of time.  The science of HIIT training is that when performed correctly it spikes your calorie burn during your workout to levels you ordinarily wouldn’t achieve, but the real magic happens when your workout is over.  It has been proven that individuals who regularly complete HIIT workouts burn calories when resting at double the rate of people who do steady state cardio.  All this means is that when you are sitting down 2 hours after your workout watching TV your workout is still working for you!

What is Steady State Cardio?

Steady State Cardio, is when individuals perform exercise over a long period of time at a constant pace or speed.  This is a method normally adopted by long distance runners and is great for improving your cardiovascular system.  However, for most, running or staying on the same piece of equipment for long periods of time is not only off putting but can also be very boring.

A great example of HIIT vs Cardio I use with clients is the picture below.  Here are two athletes at the top of their game. Both in top physical condition, however, notice the difference in their physiques. The sprinter has retained all his muscle by performing short sprint session during his training probably no more than 40 second burst, whilst the long distance runner, has very little muscle retention due to long runs he has to perform on a daily basis.


So, when it comes to working out it seems a no brainer how you should be training!

-          Do you want to complete your workout in 40 mins or under? 

-          Do you want to burn calories at a higher rate once you have finished your workout?

-          Do you want to burn fat and not muscle or do you want to spend hours in gym doing cardio and then having to a weights programme to rebuild all the muscle you have wasted away whilst doing your cardio for hours?!!

If you answered yes to all or most of these then it is HIIT  for you – just like for me!

To help you with your HIIT workout I have put together a little body weight workout you can do anywhere, in the gym, in the park or at home.  No equipment is required, just yourself, your phone, and some music.

Any questions or comment, leave them below.

Darren Fox