Steady-state cardio, or intervals? Ah, that is the question ..

Rather, I would say that the first question should be, “What is your goal?”

Here are some differences and benefits to each:

  • Steady-state training:
    • An aerobic/cardiovascular workout done at a steady pace for 30-60 minutes
    • Burns a great deal of calories during the exercise
    • Can be done more frequently than interval training
    • Good for beginners who are still adapting their body to exercise
    • May be boring
    • Caloric burn does not extend long after the exercise is completed
    • Too much of the same movement can cause overuse injuries commonly seen in cycling and running
  • Interval training:
    • Exercise that is broken up into a period of high-intensity exercise followed by a low-intensity “rest,” repeated for 20-30 minutes
    • Less time is required for the workout
    • Improves muscular ability to use fat for fuel
    • Burns more calories post-exercise than steady-state does
    • Should only be done 2-3 times per week
    • Beginners may have difficulty with the intensity of the workout
    • Exercise with high impact, such as running sprints, has a higher risk of injury

So, which is better for a goal such as weight and fat loss? The answer is .. (insert drumroll here) .. both. Interval training can be done 2-3 times per week, and another workout session can be geared in steady-state training. The benefits of both combined will give you a balanced result. 

Mix it up to avoid injury and plateauing (getting stuck at a weight loss/fitness level). Try both kinds, and different types. If you are a gym-goer and use the cardio equipment: try the intervals setting on the elliptical, the treadmill, the bicycle, etc. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast: run, ride a bicycle, go swimming.

If you’re in a place where you want to explore ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your exercise time and energy, as well as keep yourself safe from injury, reach out to me. 

I look forward to connecting with you!

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