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Steady State Cardio versus HIIT Cardio

Wondering whether your next cardio sweat session should be a steady-state workout or a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout? We’ve broken down the two exercises to help you decide.

Steady-State Cardio

You’ve done steady-state cardio a million of times, but as a refresher, a steady-state workout is when you perform at 60 to 70% of your maximum ability  for a long period of time. You can complete steady-state cardio by running, swimming laps, spinning, ellipticalling or rowing for 30-90 minutes – at a STEADY pace.  

Steady-state cardio is great because it’s typically low impact on the body, which is ideal for quickened recovery time. This means that you can complete steady-state workouts several times a week without worrying about injuries.

Another reason that makes  steady-state cardio great is that you can easily track your improvements. If you’re running (or biking) 4 times a week, you’ll quickly be able to tell if you’re shaving a few minutes off your 4 mile run or biking with a higher resistance during your workout.

It’s also the type of workout that’s  great for cardio-beginners, since you don’t have to perform at your highest capacity and  for people who are trying to maintain or improve their cardiovascular fitness level. If you have signed up for a 5k, adventure race or marathon, steady-state cardio will help you cross the finish line!


Unlike steady-state cardio, high intensity interval training workouts are completed at max-capacity for a shorter duration of time. HIIT workouts are broken up into intervals that can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes with short breaks in between. During each interval you are going all out whether you are sprinting, doing high-knees or mountain climbers.

HIIT workouts are some of the most efficient workouts, as they can be completed effectively in just 15 to 20 minutes. Even though these workouts are short, they rev your metabolism so you’ll end up torching calories not only during the workout but also for hours after you’re done. HIIT workouts will challenge your cardiovascular fitness level while also building muscle, so be sure you don’t over do it and allow your body ample recovery time after each session.

High intensity cardio workouts are great for people who want to really burn fat and build toned muscles at the same time. If you are short on time but want an effective workout, try a HIIT cardio session! If you’re looking for inspiration, Pinterest boards are a great way to locate your next HIIT workout.  

When deciding between steady-state and HIIT cardio workouts, it’s important to think about your body and your goal. Choose the workout that aligns with what you are trying to achieve, and, when in doubt, mix it up! Both workouts will challenge your endurance, burn calories and make you sweat!

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