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  • The Holistic Ape

HIIT vs Steady State Cardio - Which is Better?

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

When it comes to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) vs Steady State Cardio training you have to understand that some of the studies out there have been done on people who add many variables to the study. Meaning the information put out is not definitive. The reason is that everyone lives a different life. One person may have a different job, lifestyle, diet, metabolic rate, stress levels, and different reactions to things like carbohydrates for instance. We ask that you read this with an open mind. We cannot give you a definitive answer that “You must do this to lose fat!” It’s just not realistic. But what we can tell you is that both HIIT and Cardio can both lead to fat loss if that's what you're after. In terms of movement and the physical training side of things. We say it all the time and that is to diversify your training style, in this case, by using both HIIT and Steady State Cardio. And since you should diversify and use both of these methods you should also change the exercises you are doing within both of these categories. The most important thing is to take both of these workout styles and stay consistent.

What is HIIT Training?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is going to be more intense, stimulating, more stressful on your Central Nervous System (CNS) and skeletal and musculoskeletal systems which means this should be done less frequently due to the higher impact nature of it. When you do HIIT it is said to increase your resting metabolic rate for 24-48 hours AFTER your workout.

It's also important that you keep the total number of sets, exercises, and the volume lower because it's more neurologically taxing. Especially if you're already under a lot of stress. Here's an example workout if you travel often and are under more stress:

  • 2 Exercises x 8 Sets = 16 total exercises/sets

HIIT is quick, dense periods of working out followed by fairly short periods of rest.

  • 30-second intervals with 1-minute rests

  • 30-second intervals with 10-second rest

  • Tabata style: 20 Second on and 10 Second rest

  • 1 Minute on, 30 seconds rest

One thing we would like to note is that the lesser your rest time in relation to your workout time the more anaerobic the training style becomes. Anaerobic is essentially an activity that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen. You can read more on anaerobic exercise here!

What is Steady State Cardio?

It's a lower intensity style of cardio and is going to use oxygen, carbs, and fat as energy and will not decrease muscle size. This is why you see bodybuilders walking a lot. For example, walking, running, jogging, and swimming are considered aerobic exercise are all Steady State Cardio exercises. A benefit of Steady State Cardio is it is less stressful on the body. Due to the nature of this type of movement and training, it should be done for longer periods of time. When you mix both HIIT and Steady State Cardio you are getting the best of both worlds and getting a lot more benefits to your training. Don’t take this blog post as a one way fits all but more as a way to calculate your training methods. Take this with a grain of salt and apply it to your own life, in your own way, where it fits YOUR lifestyle. And most of all it’s important that you test and learn on your own body because we all are going to react differently to different types of movement training. One last note is that you need to enjoy the movement you choose and do. If you do not enjoy it you will not continue on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. This is another reason we say to diversify your movement, to keep things fresh.


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