HIIT vs. Steady State Cardio

Is it that HIIT burns more calories per unit of time due to higher intensity that makes it better, or is there some other factor at work here?

Suppose you have two trainees using the treadmill.

Trainee 1 runs at a steady pace until the calorie meter on the machine reads 500kcal expended. (Yes, I know those meters aren’t particularly accurate, mostly reading too high, but they are fairly precise, that is they give a consistent reading for the amount of effort expended)

Trainee 2 runs fartlek (intermixed jogging and sprinting) until the calorie meter reads 500kcal expended.

Now obviously trainee 2 will finish in less time, but other than that will he experience any other advantages?

HIIT does more “damage” to the muscles/metabolism in general that the body has to spend calories to repair afterwards

so maybe one HIIT session burns 500kcal and a session of steady cardio burns 500, but the HIIT guys’ body will also spend another 500 (or whatever, just making up numbers here) during the next 24 hours, totaling double the amount of the steady cardio guy

Plus, with HIIT you can burn the same amount in much less time than steady state, which is a big plus for most people

a negative aspect is that HIIT is pretty exhausting so lifting and HIIT on the same day is hard and has to be done in that particular order with at least ~6 hours of rest in between

Steady state cardio doesn’t give the EPOC effect that HIIT training does (more calorie burning hours after you finish exercising)!

On a more simplistic level, why are you so fixated on “calories burned” during exercise?

When strength training, you are more concerned with how the body adapts AFTER training, during recovery. Thats when your gains are made.

Similarly, with cardio, surely you should be more concerned with how the body adapts AFTER training. Its not just about how much you “burn” during exercise.

EPOC!

[quote]isr wrote:
On a more simplistic level, why are you so fixated on “calories burned” during exercise?[/quote]

I’m not, just wanted to make sure I was comparing apples to apples.

Exactly the information I was looking for, thanks!

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
Steady state cardio doesn’t give the EPOC effect that HIIT training does (more calorie burning hours after you finish exercising)![/quote]

I asked Thibs a question related to this.

He said, "EPOC is WWAAAAAAAYYYY overrated… seriously…While EPOC is dependant on several factors including exercise intensity, duration, climate, etc. It is not very large, accounting for around 50-150 calories from a bout of exercise during the day. The increase in caloric expenditure from EPOC is due to:

  • post-exercise elevation of catecholamines
  • restoration of muscle glycogen
  • elevation of post-exercise heart rate
  • elevated body temperature
  • lactate removal
  • creatine phosphate resynthesis

most of these things are short lived.

According to Gerrior et al (2006), EPOC elevated energy expenditure from exercise by around 15%. So let’s say that you ‘‘burn’’ 600 calories from a training session, it means that EPOC will add around 90 calories in expenditure during the post-workout period."

Trainee #1 won’t be exhausted for his weight training and can do legs the next day(or the day before) without an issue. Trainee #2 might not be able to.

[quote]scottiscool wrote:
Trainee #1 won’t be exhausted for his weight training and can do legs the next day(or the day before) without an issue. Trainee #2 might not be able to.[/quote]

I agree with Scott, save it for the weight training. After trying both I find much less impact on weight lifting from slow and steady, personally I do hill treadmill with some variation every 1.5 to 2 minutes…faster pace higher hill, then less incline and/or slower speed. So it’s kind of in between the two styles. Works great for me.

                ToneBone

I like them both. HIT is pretty cool because of the intensity level. When i work out, I like to kill it and hit definately does that for me more so than slow and steady.

IMO it does seem to work better for weight loss and elevating energy levels as well in the weight room. The more explosive movement of sprints, jumping, hills etc seem to transer better to the explosive movements in the weight room.

That being said, switching my Ipod on and zoning out for a six or seven mile run has it’s good qualities too.

My lifts don’t suffer much personally. A good stretching routine, proper breathing techniques, enough time for your body to adjust to the extra training (get in better shape) and a proper diet will see to it that cardio doesn’t hurt your lifting too much. Actually it helps it. Cross training has a very positive synergistic effect.

What I really like is how I can eat much more food and still hit my goals than I would be able to with weight training alone.

At the end of the day, any type of cardio burns more calories than no cardio. Do what you can do productively and consistently.

My lifts don’t really suffer at all. I find that HIIT is superior because it spares my joints, the knees specifically. Steady state kills my knees.

[quote]texasguy1 wrote:
I like them both. HIT is pretty cool because of the intensity level. When i work out, I like to kill it and hit definately does that for me more so than slow and steady.

IMO it does seem to work better for weight loss and elevating energy levels as well in the weight room. The more explosive movement of sprints, jumping, hills etc seem to transer better to the explosive movements in the weight room.

That being said, switching my Ipod on and zoning out for a six or seven mile run has it’s good qualities too.

My lifts don’t suffer much personally. A good stretching routine, proper breathing techniques, enough time for your body to adjust to the extra training (get in better shape) and a proper diet will see to it that cardio doesn’t hurt your lifting too much. Actually it helps it. Cross training has a very positive synergistic effect.

What I really like is how I can eat much more food and still hit my goals than I would be able to with weight training alone.

At the end of the day, any type of cardio burns more calories than no cardio. Do what you can do productively and consistently. [/quote]

Well said.

It depends on what the goals of the person is. Im much more focused on athletic performance, but I still do both. Keep that heart strong with long distance runs, swims, bikes, whatever you like. HIIT will get you into bad ass shape. I do a bit more HIIT than cardio, but like i said–depends on what you’d like to achieve.