Cardio: Steady State Versus HIIT – When To Do Steady State

You’ve probably heard the debate before, steady state versus HIIT. It’s been proven many times now that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is overall superior for fat loss results. It takes less time to do, it boosts your metabolism more, and it helps to increase lean muscle mass retention.

So it would seem then that you should do away with steady state cardio training altogether, right?

Not so fast. Turns out, there is a time and place for this mode of cardio. Let’s explain.


If you are brand new to exercise, you shouldn’t dive right in and begin doing HIIT. That’s just a fast way to land yourself injured.

Instead, ease into it. Start with steady state and once you can do that for 20-30 minutes at a decent pace, then consider adding in HIIT. Rush into HIIT and you’ll just wind up hating exercise and want to quit altogether.

Those Coming Off An Injury

Another individual who would be better served by doing steady state cardio training is someone who is just coming off an injury. When you’re injured, the last thing you want to be doing is putting a high amount of stress on the body.

Start slow. Steady state cardio is non-taxing and shouldn’t lead to re-injury as long as you’re careful. Then as you gain confidence that you are totally healed, you can start increasing the intensity and move towards HIIT instead.

Those Low Carb Dieting

Finally, the last group of individuals who should consider steady state cardio are those who are using a very low carb diet approach. Keep in mind that to perform HIIT optimally, you need glucose in your system. If you’re low carb dieting, that fuel just isn’t there.

The body can utilize fat as fuel for steady state but not for HIIT. Therefore, steady state should be your focus.

So there you have the main facts to know and remember regarding HIIT and steady state training. Sometimes, steady state really is the better bet.

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