High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) vs. Steady-State – Is High Interval Cardio Better?


In the 1960s, a man name Kenneth H. Cooper
came up with the concept of aerobics. Originally, aerobics, via the aerobics point system, measured
the effectiveness of different exercises and activities for improving cardiovascular health.
This lead to the coining of the term today known as cardio. Over time, however, the main
focus of these aerobic-based exercises began shifting from improving cardiovascular health
to helping people lose weight and burn fat. And it makes a lot sense since cardio exercises
do indeed help people lose weight by burning excess calories and also help people burn
fat by activating the fat-burning aerobic energy pathway in the body.
This aerobic energy pathway is the energy system in your body that uses stored fat-
after being converted into fatty acids- in conjunction with oxygen and other chemicals
to produce the body’s sole source of energy known as ATP. As long as this pathway is utilized,
more and more fat will be burned. Early science believed that the best way to activate this
pathway is by performing long-duration, low intensity exercises such as long-distance
jogging, cycling, or swimming. This ultimately lead to the creation of other forms of cardio
exercises today such as aerobic dance classes, step aerobics, and the extremely popular Zumba.
Although low intensity cardio is still the exercise king of weight loss and fat burning
today, newcomers have arrived to challenge for the crown. The biggest gripe with low
intensity cardio exercises is the duration, which often takes more than an hour. Cardio
might seem to be fun and exciting the first time it’s done, but over time, it begins to
feel way too repetitive and long. As more and more people become bored and lose interest,
more and more people will quit. And for some people, they simply do not have the time.
But are low intensity cardio exercises really the best option to burn fat and calories?
The science today says, “Ehh, probably not.” This is where the most prominent challenger
to low intensity cardio steps in. This challenger is known as High Intensity Interval Training.
High Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests, is any “training” program that are
performed in “intervals” at a “high intensity.” High intensity interval training, also called
HIIT for short, are alternating periods of short high intensity activity with periods
of low intensity recovery. The most popular exercise for HIIT is alternating sprinting
with walking. Each sprint interval lasts between 5-30 seconds and each walk interval will also
last between 5-30 seconds. The more fit you are, the higher the work to rest ratio will
become. For example, if you’re really fit, you might be sprinting for 30 seconds and
walking for 10. Someone that is less fit might be sprinting for 10 seconds and walking for
30. The total session length varies between 5-20 minutes, and because of the intensity,
should only be done 3 days a week. When added together, that’s a maximum of only 60 minutes
of exercise per week! So what’s the science behind this? When the
body goes through intense activity, it needs to be able to keep up with the energy demand.
One way of doing so is by secreting high levels of fat-releasing hormones known as catecholamines
into the bloodstream. The more catecholamines, the more quickly fat is broken down into free
fatty acids. Free fatty acids are then used to replenish energy stores. Studies have also
shown that HIIT creates a strong EPOC effect. EPOC, short for excess post-exercise oxygen
consumption, is the extra oxygen your body needs in order to recover after an intense
activity. The more oxygen you take in also means more calories are being burned. This
effect can last up to an amazing 24 hours after the workout. However, other studies
have shown that the amount of calories being burned during EPOC isn’t all that much, where
at most an extra 60 calories being burned. There are also a few drawbacks. High intensity
interval training is extremely strenuous. People might drop out of low intensity cardio
becomes it’s long and boring, but people can just as easily drop out of HIIT because it’s
just too hard. High intensity interval training might also cause joint pain due to the high
impact, and over time, might lead to serious injuries. Also, low intensity cardio can actually
be done every day. HIIT, however, requires ample recovery time, which can interfere other
exercise routines. Although HIIT might challenge low intensity cardio for the crown, it’s not
exactly a knockout punch. Have you tried high intensity interval training
before? Please share your experience in
the comment section below!

100 Replies to “High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) vs. Steady-State – Is High Interval Cardio Better?”

  1. Other videos shows that the rest period should be of 3 to 4 min, instead of 30 sec.. (The intense workout would continue to me for 30 sec) is it correct ?

  2. The EPOC thing is totally over sold. As you say some studies show only an extra 60 calories.

    Instead of cardio HIIT. Why not Metabolic Resistence Training? It burns fat and keeps you pumped.

  3. I once tried tried HIIT. After a sweat-full moments of pain I realized it was just a warm up. Never ended something so quickly.

  4. Music sound is so high and comes after my nerves I couldn't complete the video, please take care of that in upcoming videos….

  5. For a person who sits daily 7-8 hrs on a pc to work,
    Taking 8 floors of stairs in stead of elevator 2-3 times a day be considered as high intensity???
    Seriously I'm am considering this …as u said in one of your videos…time is money here for me and I cannot go to gym daily..
    Pls be so kind enough to reply

  6. It is wise to combine both.! I prefer low intensity for fat loss because it just works better for me. On the other hand, HIIT is fun and very good for longevity and heart health!

  7. I do HIIT 2-3 Times a week peppered with strength training in between. With HIIT as my primary source when I first started, I dropped 20-30lbs over 3-4 months and my body composition changed more than ever compared to other types of workout. I incorporate lower weights with HIIT for a combo and do not do the run/sprint. It’s more lunges, squats, high knees, lots of planks, etc.

  8. People do weight training and cardio at same time and they get calorie surplus for muscle building….so my problem is what they expect from doing cardio? they cant lose fat with that conditions (calorie surplus)…..

  9. Did the crossfits for 2 years, really enjoyed the people and coaches even enjoyed trying to kill myself everyday!!!

  10. So, I used to be 94 kg 2 years ago. Today, After 2 years,I hit 69 kg. Add the fact that i was 16 back then,and had 0 muscles at the time.Like my aunt could beat me 0 muscles. So basically it all started with a forced headstart.after i lost about 4 kg due to not having anything to eat, i just didn’t let go. I admit there were periods that I actually put on up to 5 kg of the weight I had lost, but I didn’t give up.

  11. I do hiit at football practice I feel horrible while doing it but great afterwards and i usually do all my lifting and things like that before i hiit. It works better for me

  12. In the elliptical machine, if I wanna do hiit, what is the rate of speed I shall go? Like 30mph? Mabe walk at 5mph? Do you know?

  13. 5 to 20 minutes per session. Most of the videos in YouTube last more than 30 minutes each, so What should I look for?

  14. I am doing it now, and I do it every day and I am losing around 400g a day, I am not overweight I only have couple of extra KGs to burn and I also diet and stuff so the 400g doesn't come from HIIT only

  15. 10 burpees x 10 squat with jump x 10 push ups x 10 jumping jacks without stop for about 5 times plus 5 minutes of HIIT (1 minute running, 1 minute walking) and you will be fit very fast. Well, after weight training.

  16. My experience :
    Low Intensity:::Sweat after 20mints in steady running cardio. Approx 5miles per hour or 1mile per 12mins.
    HIIT: Just 5 mins of High knee touching at home with 20secs work and 40 sec rest . Sweat just after 2mins.
    So HIIT is way better than low intensity cardio.
    HIIT sweat after 2 mins.
    Steady cardio sweat after 20mins.
    HIIT in my opinion is a clear winner.
    Professional Sportsperson.

  17. So I have Denise Austin Boot camp DVDs and I also have Billy Blanks Taebo Boot camp dvd…are those considered HIIT workouts?

  18. I do hiit 3 to 5 days a week for an hour at 45 seconds of working out and 15 seconds of rest and it's had a much better result then my old routine of 10km of running taking about an hour 5 days a week. But that being said I lost the majority of my weight through running and skipping from 90kg to 75kg in 9 months. But through hiit training I gained a lot more all round strength through doing a whole body workout. So all in all through my experience is say every word of this video is right and you should give both a try and see what you like just remember to buy the biggest water bottle there is for hiit training and to breathe.

  19. I’m a 400m runner and I can tell you for a fact even if you’re at Olympic level you cannot sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. In order to do intervals that long at a high intensity you need at least a minute

  20. So I my distance Coach makes us do Hiit for every recovery run. So if we had a workout on Monday and Tuesday would be recovery we would do hiit before we would run like 4 miles. My question is if hiit is good for recovery? Please reply

  21. People totally miss the point of exercise. It simply put improves your quality of life. Whether you get skinny, or get jacked is a side effect.

  22. I started HIIT a month ago. I started with average HR at 95%, that is do high intensity till 100% and then low intensity to 90%. I was doing it for 45 minute daily and got drained. From last week I started keeping average HR to 85% and I found this as more practical and I could do it for 1 hour daily.
    The reason I am doing it for one hour is because of calories. I have a calorie budget of 1700 daily without exercise. I found it difficult to maintain without workout.
    By the way I use cross trainer for HIIT.

  23. Is it okay to do like 25 min HIIT and right after like 30 min strength training 6 times per week? Also should I including regular intensity cardio?

  24. Hiit on push day is amazing and gives enough time for recovery if supplemented with whey , creatine and caffine youll be fine.

  25. Often cycling can be done as a commute, and it offers psychological benefits, like seeing and being connected to your community and landscape. Cycling as a commute doesn't require separate time dedicated to going to a gym, it is functional and it is somewhat explorative. HIIT s usually just running laps or doing repetitive moves like the Russian Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Cycling is an actual fun activity traversing the world on a vehicle with natural wind in your face, HIIT is you trying to F*&#ing force your body to look hot so you can be more narcissistic and/or get laid more often and with better looking people. HIIT is a new fad for tryhards, Cycling is for life.

  26. People seem to be clueless about HIIT to this day. I used to jog between 7-10 km 4 days a week and my knees and feet were killing me not to mention making me stiff add to that my gym sessions. Long story short I started doing HIIT training instead twice a week with one kickboxing session in between, since I've always been a fast sprinter that made more sense to me and now I don't have troubles with my knees anymore no joint pain anymore. HIIT for me is what jogging never was and it does wonders physique wise which jogging never did.

  27. I prefer long endurance to HIIT… for the simple reason that its safer. I enjoy it and I enjoy being out and about or at the gym.. but then again.. I have time in the mornings.. Great video 🙂

  28. I adore this channel! I am very picky about subscribing and I normally need to see much more than just one or two quality videos in order to do so, but in this case with one I had more than enough. All the complexity of fitness world put into layman's terms. 🙂 Thank you so much, it helps a lot.

  29. I do HIIT 6 times/week with the Freeletics program (4 days bodyweight, two days running).

    Without strictly keeping the diet they recommend I lose about 1.5 kg/week. It works, it takes very little time (20-40 minutes each session, warm-up and cool down included) and it makes me feel so much stronger. I went from being able to do about 15 push-ups to 50 (not in a single set, but the breaks are no longer than 30 seconds). And that's the example of just one exercise.

    All I'm saying is that if you feel able to and you don't have health problems that advise against it, go for HIIT. It will suck the first couple of weeks but then you will recover much much faster. I usually work out first thing in the morning and while it sucked at first, it doesn't affect my day almost at all anymore and by the time evening comes around I feel completely recovered and I dare even say with more energy than I did at the same hours before I worked out.

    I also eat 5-6 times a day.

  30. i'm trying both cardio and hiit: 1/2 hours of cardio i burn 900 calories but i wasn't tired after that! i actually want to do more! but sometimes i do hiit but for short minutes like…i think 3 to 5 mins becouse it makes me more tired than cardio, but feels good tho.

  31. "Better" is always subjective. Whichever one is more sustainable for your lifestyle is the better option!

  32. For burning fat my opinion is low intensity for long duration is the best,I did 5 years of cycling,it makes me so lean,but now I switched to calithenics and sprint which makes me stronger and not skinny anymore

  33. Bro… some guys says that, if we do HIIT after weights, muscle gain may affects. Is it true…¿ bro I wish to get a video on it. Can you? Thanks… one od your fan from india

  34. In athletics we often do speed training sessions like 200m(usually 25-32s pace depending on a training) x 12 with around 2 minutes of rest. I wonder how that compares to 30s by 30s in terms of fat loss. After the training we lie down exhausted trying to catch a breath and even after the training you can still actually feel that you need to breathe a bit more deeply. I wonder if these two trainings are the same in terms of fat loss and whether we actually need to have short rests or whether it doesn't actually matter as long as we get that feeling of exhaustion. Great vid though as always!

  35. I like HIIT because when you finish the workout, it feels so good. If you finish an aerobics workout, I don’t feel much different from when I started. Also, the high intensity helps a lot with my anxiety, because my body is too tired to be anxious.

  36. I do hiit exercises twice a week but after weight lifting and I like it a lot better than just sprinting for a long time

  37. I once tried the HIIT and I lose weight real fast, but then my right ankle getting hurt. Now I rely on LISS in my every day basis and I actually like it too, even though I need to workout longer.

  38. My school uses H.I.I.T a lot. We do this around our football field. We jog the length, walk the short width and sprint diagonally (just imagine doing this on a rectangle it’s hard to explain, okay) and do this continuously

  39. HIIT is really king of cardio to get fast result. the problem is, stay away if you are overweight, and please make sure you have recovery supplement ready. =)

  40. 2min Boxing-bag, 1min rest. and 4rounds like this,. then 2min jump rope and 1min rest. and 4times like this. also an good one. and after Rowing machine 3 rounds of 5min, with 2 min rest in between.

  41. What about the claim that your body can adapt really well to long duration, low intensity exercise and significantly decrease the amount of fat and calories you burn?

  42. if running and jogging are counted as LISS…i don't even know what I'm doing anymore. to me, my runs are high intensity, with heart rates reaching up to 172 and staying around the 150-160 – for the whole time.I literally only run for like 20 mins max so basically the same as a HIIT workout. For me, HIIT didn't work well at all because most exercises had some kind of jump (maybe I'm doing it wrong) or something that really stimulates the muscle so in the end, either my muscles give out before my cardiovascular system does or my knees hurt from the jumping. Sure i probably breathe harder and feel more tired over HIIT, but LISS still keeps my heart rate up there (if not higher than HIIT cause i give up too quickly) and i'm basically able to have my heart pumping super fast the WHOLE workout instead of for short intervals.

  43. I just started with what I think turned out to be HIIT. I had no exercise previous and my day began early morning jog and some exercises done poorly. I then decided I'd try focusing certain groups of muscles to help with other failing parts of my poor exercises.
    I worked for 3 hours of ladders and not-actually-pullups pullups but had long rests in between.
    I ran a ladder that could be seen as short that left me breathless and wanting to give up, but I kept running anyways, and did 2 sets of 5 reps on starting pullups that left my arms burning.
    (Starting pullups is what I call them. I can't do an actual pullup so I compensate by jumping up to the bar and trying to keep myself from dropping as long as I possibly can.)
    Would this be considered a HIIT that deserves a rest? Or, would this be a low intensity with a slightly high intensity spark with an added bit of muscle training through the not-actually-pullups pullups?

  44. Idk about the whole recovery thing. I could do hiit every day and be fine. It really depends on where your body is in terms of strength and endurance ig 🤷🏾‍♂️

  45. 60 minutes per week is horrible, just jogg for 20 or 15 minutes. Just keep in mind to complete a mile/ 4 laps. 30 minutes of excersise of each day.

  46. For all the people saying that LIT burns muscle needs to realize that before any form of cardio reaches that point, your body will first burn off glycogen then it will burn fat and then muscle.

  47. I never liked jogging or running. I like cycling a lot but cycling the same route is just tedious and boring. I tried H.I.I.T. and it made feel like I was going to die in the first few minutes. Afterwards, you feel great. I lost 16 pounds in 3 months, gradually transitioning to H.I.I.T. from low impact cardio. I do recommend trying it because there's a lot of variety to it, just don't do it for consecutive days. Have a safe workout everyone!

  48. HIIT training with weights is perfect. Super sets is considered a form of HIIT. Doing it 7 days stright, all year round. Mind over matter👌

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