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  • Natalie Gagnon

Steady State vs HIIT Cardio…

Whether you plan on competing in a sport or if you’re doing cardio to simply remain healthy, there are definitely benefits of doing cardio…period! When it comes to the TYPE of cardio there will always be a debate.

For some; they think the steady state is the best cardio-respiratory fitness to keep them younger and healthier. Believe it or not… there have been studies done (shocking I know!) Through research we know that consistently trying to go FAR (long distance at a steady pace) allows for your body to eventually lose muscle. This is evident in looking at a Sprinter and a Marathon runner. It’s the excessive cortisol levels, and testosterone levels associated with longer distances and higher frequencies that further proves this.

Aesthetics aside, the body type of a person who religiously does steady state (or worse, overdoes the steady state) is not the body type to go the distance in life (want to live longer? Listen up). Think of it… as we age we become more fragile, the chances of falling are higher. With no muscle on our bodies there is a greater chance if we fall we will severely injure ourselves as there is nothing protecting our organs. So while we are young enough to build that protective muscle and prime our bodies to be in optimal health; why aren’t we taking advantage of it?

If we look at heath-span, cardio-respiratory fitness falls below strength and muscle in the hierarchy of healthspan:

- Muscle Mass

- Strength

- Basal Metabolic Rate

- Body Fat Percentage

- Aerobic Capacity

So does that mean never do steady state? NO. For many steady state cardio is a relaxing way to spend time outdoors, put some music on and clear their thoughts. That is needed, it’s healthy, it’s enjoyable. What would be advised is to also do some HIIT cardio as well. That’s not saying go ballistic and become Usain Bolt. It’s simply saying that there is still a way to develop our cardio-respiratory fitness without sacrificing strength and muscle. There is nothing but facts to it… since HIIT cardio produces improvements in vo2max, anaerobic threshold, aerobic power, and allows for muscle preservation, there are clear reasons why it is wise to place it into your workout routine. Plus, if you have goals in mind of losing body fat, building muscle, or anything in between; wouldn’t it be nice to spend less time doing the cardio but burning more calories and shedding more body fat (even when you’re done doing the physical cardio due to elevated metabolism?)

This is something that will sit well with those who care about their health and physique. For those who haven’t tried HIIT cardio, give it shot. All it will do is improve your health!

Natalie Gagnon

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