HIIT vs Steady State Cardio


Something that’s been on my mind recently is responsibility. I know at times it may seem like I’m coming across as a jerk whenever I lay out the facts, but I’m not trying to be argumentative. The whole point is to relay applicable information that is backed by science. Reason for this is, in no other industry will you find more pretentious people who believe they’re experts than in the health and fitness space. Every time I think we’re doing a much better job in putting out good, practical content, some delusional quack with little to zero experience in training and nutrition chimes in with their hollow remark.

Killing yourself in the gym and training for a specific adaptation (muscle growth, fat loss) are not the same thing. You can make the argument there is a small part of the population that perhaps might garner some benefit from that mentality. However, that’s a different discussion. For the vast majority, accumulating fatigue for the sake of it thinking you’re expediting progress is not very smart. For example, the excess post oxygen consumption or “afterburn” effect that has been a long touted benefit of HIIT has led the vast majority to think it’s the superior approach.

Well, it appears to be insignificant from a fat loss and body composition standpoint. The only true advantage it has over lower to moderate intensities is time-efficiency. And obviously, it’s less mundane.

Each modality has its pros and cons. You get a lot of work done doing HIIT, but it has a huge impact on your recovery especially if done frequently. On the other end, steady state doesn’t beat you up as much. Although, it does require a bigger time allotment. Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy doing. And you also have to take into strong consideration what’s sustainable for you.

Dre De Los Santos | Author
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