If you’re about to embark on a fitness regimen, you may be looking at the benefits of HIIT Vs. steady state cardio and want to know which will be best for you. The reality is, you can benefit from doing either, or both.
Most women (and men) will find cardio HIIT workouts to be very effective. However, some will find steady state cardio workouts more to their liking.
For those who are unsure about the differences between the two, cardio HIIT workouts are by far the more challenging of the two. Sessions usually last anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, with 20 minutes being typical. During this time you will train at maximum intensity for short periods, interspersed with periods of rest or low-intensity circuits. Steady state cardio workouts, on the other hand, are far less taxing.
Examples include long walks or runs, exercising on a rowing machine or exercise bike, or swimming laps in a pool. The pace will be slow to moderate throughout the workout, enabling you to train for longer without exhausting yourself.
In this HIIT Vs. steady state cardio article, we will look at the positives and negatives of both to help you make an informed decision about which will be best for you.
HIIT Vs. Steady State Cardio – Which is Right for You?
Your answers to the following questions will help you determine whether cardio HIIT workouts or steady state cardio workouts will suit you.
- How Much do you Weigh?
The more you weigh, the less likely it is that cardio HIIT workouts will be right for you. This is because the impact of HIIT can cause pain and stress your joints. It could also result in injury.
If you are overweight, start with steady state cardio workouts and undertake a weight loss diet. After losing weight, try incorporating some HIIT into your fitness plan. This will help you to shed your remaining excess pounds quickly, and your body will better be able to handle the impact of the workouts when you have some conditioning.
- What is your current fitness level?
HIIT should only be undertaken by people who already have a degree of fitness. If you haven’t exercised before or not for a long time, it will not be for you. At the least, you will experience severe delayed onset muscle soreness the day after your first HIIT workout that will prevent you from exercising for days. You could even injure yourself, in which case you would be sidelined for even longer. For such people, steady state cardio workouts are the better option.
After doing steady state cardio for a month or two, gradually include some short HIIT sessions in your workout. Over time, increase the time you spend doing HIIT, and the intensity of your sessions.
- How much time do you have to exercise?
If your body can handle it, HIIT is one of the most efficient forms of exercise you can do. Ideal for busy people, regular short sessions will tone your body and get you into shape fast. HIIT is also excellent for improving stamina.
- When can you train?
While you can benefit from doing HIIT at any time, most experts agree that the best results come from early morning sessions. The reason for this is that after your session your body will continue to burn fat throughout the rest of the day.
If you are only able to exercise in the evenings, HIIT workouts can affect your sleep. This is due to the spike in energy that many people notice after recovering from the workout. So if you can only work out at night, you may be better off doing steady state cardio workouts.
Though opinions differ, many fitness trainers agree that cardio HIIT workouts should not be undertaken on an empty stomach. If you decide to train upon waking, be sure to eat something light such as a banana, or have a protein shake thirty minutes or so before your workout.
- Do you have any existing injuries or health issues?
HIIT is a training protocol for people who are already reasonably fit. If you are unsure that your body will cope, speak to your doctor before doing HIIT, or any other exercise program. This is particularly important for people suffering from joint problems or a heart condition.
- What is your pain threshold?
The goal of exercise is to improve your health and fitness. HIIT is very challenging. Some people may find it too tough and exhausting, despite the workouts being short.
If you find yourself making excuses to skip your workouts or you’re always thinking about how much you hate them, give HIIT a miss and stick with steady state cardio.
HIIT Vs. Steady State Cardio Summary
I hope this HIIT Vs. steady state cardio article has given you an idea as to which workout will be right for you. There’s a place for both cardio HIIT workouts and steady state cardio workouts. The one you choose should be appropriate to your needs, work out goals, and fitness level.
If you stay active and you are consistent with your workouts, you will be able to improve your fitness and lose weight doing steady state cardio workouts. Once you’re fitter, you can slowly challenge yourself with short cardio HIIT workouts. In the meantime, do what is right for you now.