Breaking down the benefits of HIIT vs steady-state cardio

Aug 18, 2023

The Benefits of HIIT vs Steady-State Cardio

When it comes to cardio workouts, there are two popular options that often come up in discussions: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and steady-state cardio. Both of these workout styles have their own unique benefits and can be effective in achieving different fitness goals. Let's break down the benefits of each to help you decide which one is right for you.

HIIT: Maximum Results in Minimum Time

HIIT workouts are known for their intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods. This style of training is highly efficient and can deliver maximum results in a shorter amount of time compared to steady-state cardio. By pushing your body to its limits during the high-intensity intervals, you can burn more calories and boost your metabolism even after the workout is over.

HIIT workout

Steady-State Cardio: Endurance and Fat Burning

Steady-state cardio, on the other hand, involves maintaining a steady pace for an extended period of time. This type of workout is great for building endurance and improving cardiovascular health. While steady-state cardio may not burn as many calories during the workout itself, it can be effective in burning fat and improving overall fitness when done consistently.

Steady-state cardio

HIIT: Versatility and Variety

One of the great things about HIIT workouts is the flexibility and variety they offer. You can incorporate a wide range of exercises into your HIIT routine, including bodyweight exercises, cardio machines, and even weights. This versatility allows you to target different muscle groups and keep your workouts interesting and challenging.

HIIT exercises

Steady-State Cardio: Low Impact and Sustainable

If you prefer a low-impact workout that is gentle on your joints, steady-state cardio may be the better option for you. Activities like walking, cycling, or swimming can provide a sustainable form of exercise that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Steady-state cardio is also a great choice for beginners or those recovering from injuries.

Steady-state cardio activities

HIIT: Efficient Fat Burning

One of the main benefits of HIIT workouts is their ability to effectively burn fat. The high-intensity intervals push your body to its limits, increasing your heart rate and oxygen consumption. This leads to a greater afterburn effect, where your body continues to burn calories even after you've finished exercising. HIIT has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat.

HIIT fat burning

Steady-State Cardio: Stress Relief and Mental Clarity

While both HIIT and steady-state cardio can provide mental health benefits, steady-state cardio, in particular, can be a great stress reliever. Engaging in a longer, steady-paced workout can help clear your mind, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental clarity. It's a great way to unwind after a long day or to start your morning on a positive note.


Ultimately, the choice between HIIT and steady-state cardio depends on your personal goals, preferences, and fitness level. If you're looking for a time-efficient workout that maximizes calorie burn and boosts metabolism, HIIT may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you enjoy a more sustainable, low-impact workout that focuses on endurance and overall fitness, steady-state cardio can be a great option.

Remember, the most important thing is to find a cardio routine that you enjoy and can stick to in the long run. Whether you choose HIIT, steady-state cardio, or a combination of both, consistency is key to achieving your fitness goals.