Steady State Cardio vs hiit training

Why Cardio is so important

it burns unwanted body fat

  • Besides diet, Cardio is the best thing to do to get rid of unwanted body fat, especially your stomach area. From a purely health perspective, it strengthens your heart so that it doesn't have to work as hard to produce the needed blood flow in your body.
  • It also releases endorphins in your body that help to reduce stress, which make you feel better, both mentally and physically. So cardio is definitely here to stay!
  • One of the main reasons people start working out is to get rid of belly fat. They usually try and do a bunch of sit ups or crunches thinking they're going to eliminate that belly fat, but to no avail. The reason is that no matter how many sit ups you do, your abs will NEVER show unless you get rid of that layer of fat covering them.
  • The key is Cardio. BUT, not all Cardio regimes are the same. In this guide we break down the difference between Steady State Cardio and HIIT.

The 2 main types of cardio 
#1 - Steady State 

Steady State Cardio (any traditional form of cardio that keeps you at a steady pace) is the most common type of Cardio. It's walking a steady pace on the treadmill for 45 mins, riding a bike, jogging at a steady pace etc. 

#2 - Hiit training cardio

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, where you push yourself hard for short intervals of time. You're wanting to achieve max intensity and then take short periods of rest, over and over.

So here's the deal...

Science shows that BOTH methods are effective at burning fat around the belly area (and everywhere else on the human body), so you don't have to feel like you have to choose one over the other. BUT, there are advantages to HIIT training if you can do it. One advantage is it will get you results FASTER. Why? Because with HIIT training you can bring your body into EPOC (Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption). Essentially, our body uses more oxygen after exercise than before exercise, and we expend more calories during our recovery from exercise than we do before exercise. Simply put, your body continues to BURN CALORIES for up to 24 hours AFTER your workout is over! Another great thing about HIIT Training is because your working at High Intensity, your workouts are MUCH SHORTER in duration (Typically only 15 minutes of this type of cardio).

Shorter workouts? More calorie burn? Whats not to love? Why wouldn't EVERYONE do HIIT Training? Because the exercises are High Intensity, if you're obese or really out of shape, you may not be able to at the start. It could put you in a dangerous situation, pushing your body that hard. You should talk to your doctor before starting deciding, to make sure your body can handle it. Otherwise it might be a good idea to crawl before you walk...start with Steady State and as your body adjusts you can incorporate HIIT Training in to your workout regime to get faster results.

More about

Hiit training

  • HIIT Training gets you about twice the results of Steady State Cardio in half the time. It's really ANY cardio workout that rotates between High Intensity bursts and short periods of rest. This can include sprinting, riding a stationary bike at max effort, jump roping as fast as you can etc. It's followed by short periods of low activity or even NO activity (like walking or full rest)..
  • You may not be able to start out a new workout program with HIIT, because it might be too hard on your body. But as you get in better shape, you'll want to start, since Steady State Cardio doesnt continue to burn calories after your workout is complete.  .
  • The reason HIIT continues to burn calories even when your done is you actually create an oxygen shortage during the high intensity intervals which causes your body to  ask for more oxygen during recovery, known as EPOC, or the "afterburn effect.!

This "afterburn effect" happens because your body has to work harder to clear lactic acids that have built up and also to repay the oxygen debt. The harder you push yourself during the workout, the better the payoff in terms of post workout calorie GO HARD! The ab training you do will get your abs sculpted, but its really the HIIT Training (along with your diet) that will strip off that layer of belly fat to let  your abs show.

A study done by East Tennessee University with obese students found that the group that did an 8 week HIIT Training regimen dropped an average of 2% body fat, in comparison with the other half of the group who did only Steady State cardio and had a 0% drop in body fat over the same period. In Australia, a similar study had the same results with Women in the group. The women who did HIIT Training lost 6 times more body fat than the women who just did Steady State Cardio.

So how exactly does HIIT training work?

During the High Intensity portions of your workout, you need to push yourself to your fullest extent. If your not out of breath by the end of a High Intensity round, your not getting the most out of your workout. 

During the slow phase, you need to slow down just enough to catch your breath, but not so long that the next round of High Intensity is easy. Focus on recovering just enough to go all out again on the next round.

Here are some helpful ratios: When you first start out, you might need to go 1:2 which means for every second of exertion you need 2 seconds of recovery. So, for example, you might do a full out sprint for 30 seconds and take 1 minute rest before your next round. You might even need 1:3. That's Ok if you do. However a 2:1 work to rest ratio has been found to produce the best results. So if you can do it, go for it.

How often should cardio be in your workout?

If your just getting started and want to start with Steady State Cardio, and are serious about losing weight, you should be doing it 5 - 6 times a week.

Once you start HIIT Training, you want to do it 3 - 4 times a week, as your body needs recovery time. It's important to remember that your body needs this time to recover from the High Intensity exercises so you should not be doing these everyday.

Let's start at the beginning

If you're considered obese, you'll want to start your self out with Steady State Cardio and work your way up. You don't want to put yourself in a situation where your health can be compromised and even possibly have issues with your heart, your lungs or even your joints. If you're healthy enough for it, here are some HIIT exercises to get you going.


Warm up 2 minutes (walk or light jog)
30 sec sprint / 20 sec walk or jog
Beginners-      10 Cycles
Intermediate- 13 Cycles
Advanced-      15 Cycles


Warm up 4 minutes.
Go hard 20 seconds and then cruise for  10 seconds
Beginners-     12 Cycles
Intermediate- 18 cycles
Advanced-      24 Cycles

Warm up: Stretch well
Beginner: 5 Cycles
10 Lunge jumps (each leg)
10 Push-ups
20 Squats
15 Chair dips
15 Mountain Climbers (each leg)
1 Minute Rest

Intermediate : 8 Cycles 

15 Lunge jumps (each leg)
15 Push-ups
20 Squats
20 Chair dips
20 Mountain Climbers (each leg)
45 Second Rest

Advanced: 10 Cycles
15 Lunge jumps (each leg)
15 Push-ups
25 Squats
20 Chair dips
20 Mountain Climbers (each leg)
35 Second Rest

Warm up: 2 Mins Jump Rope

Beginner: 6 Sets
20 Sec Intervals (waves, throws, slams, spirals, whips)
40 Second Rest
Intermediate: 8 Sets
30 Sec Intervals (waves, throws, slams, spirals, whips)
30 Second Rest

Beginner: 10 Sets
30 Sec Intervals (waves, throws, slams, spirals, whips)
15 Second Rest

Cool Down - 2 mins Jump Rope

Warm up: 1 minute jog

Beginner: 5 Cycles
30 Second Sprint
8 Burpees
8 High-Knees (each leg)
45 Second Rest

Intermediate: 8 Cycles
30 Second Sprint
12 Burpees
12 High-Knees (each leg)
35 Second Rest

Advanced: 10 Cycles
30 Second Sprint
15 Burpees
15 High-Knees (each leg)
25 Second Rest