HIIT vs Steady State Cardio

The date is September 26, 2020. The number of coronavirus cases is still persistently high. I wonder now, more than ever before, what the heck I should do with my psychology degree.

While the “degree regret” has been real the past several months, if there’s one thing I gained from college besides drinking keg beer upside down, it’s how to analyze the research.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term HIIT: high intensity interval training. There has been a huge fascination with this training method the last several years.

And many will argue this is a FAR superior alternative to your run of the mill treadmill jogging or neighborhood runs.

I wish I could give you an answer, however, the research is mixed.

While mixed research in nutrition and exercise science is one of the most frustrating things, it is also something that gets me more excited than anything else. My brain sparks up at the drama of ambiguity. And I love a good debate.

One research article will say HIIT is the best method for weight loss and the more preferred method for participants. The next article will say that steady state cardio is the best and most preferred. The fitness bloggers have taken the ambiguity and made list upon list of pros and cons, because who doesn’t love a good list?

The science says that HIIT (e.g. sprints) puts us into an anaerobic state where our bodies break down glucose for energy. Low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio (e.g. jogging) is a form of aerobic exercise in which our bodies break down fat for fuel.

While the answer to which is better generally depends on who you ask, I believe what works best for you is individual to you.

Personally, I cannot push myself mentally to get through an hour of non stop running. That just sounds cruel. I actually love doing sprints. (It is very much an acquired taste, one I learned extremely slowly). I know many who can run for hours on end, but would never consider sprints.

The best part of HIIT is that it is much more time efficient, but I have struggled with inflammation and injury because of it. Ultimately, I think it’s important to do what works best for you, but also try incorporating both into your workout routine.

Which type of cardio do you prefer?

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