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The Difference Between Steady-State Cardio and Intervals

The Difference Between Steady-State Cardio and Intervals

In the world of cardiovascular workouts, you’ll often hear two buzzwords, "steady-state cardio" and "interval training." These are two forms of workout that have always been debated. Some say steady-state cardio is better, while others say interval training is better.
From a general point of view, both steady-state cardio and interval training have their importance and benefits. Moreover, both exercises ‌target your cardiovascular‌ system. Regardless of which exercise you choose, the primary objectives boil down to one thing - a cardio workout.
Depending on your fitness level, you can choose any one exercise, but to get the best out of your fitness regime you first need to know the characters, benefits, and workout style.
In this blog post, you’ll learn how steady-state cardio and interval training are different, their unique benefits, and which one is best suited for your fitness journey.


What is a Steady-State Cardio-Exercise?

Steady-state cardio exercises are those activities that you did as fun when you were a kid. Cycling with friends, going for a swim, walking at a consistent pace with your mom around the market, and going jogging with your dad are all steady-state cardio.
This cardio exercise focuses on training your cardiovascular system for a longer time at moderate intensity. The energy system used during this workout is aerobic metabolism, meaning your body uses oxygen, fat, and carbohydrates to generate energy.
Steady-state cardio exercise usually lasts between 45 to 60 minutes at a consistent pace. This exercise helps enhance your cardiovascular system by increasing the efficiency of your heart and lungs. If you’re new to the fitness world, steady-state cardio is the best exercise to start with.

Advantages of Steady-state Cardio

Other than strengthening your heart and lungs, steady-state cardio also offers many other benefits.

Improve Your Overall Health

Indulging in this exercise for just a couple months can drastically improve your overall cardiovascular system. Which, in return reduces your blood pressure and lowers other cardiovascular diseases.
It also helps boost your endurance and stamina, making your every activity and adventure easier. You stay active throughout the day and you’re ready for any challenges life throws at you. You can run marathons or hike up the mountains with ease.

Convenient and Easy

Steady-state cardio exercises don’t require you to buy expensive equipment to workout. On top of that, the exercises are also easy to perform and can be done at your own pace.
It’s so convenient that you can do it anywhere you like, except for swimming. For swimming, you need a swimming pool.

Improve Your Mental Health

Something is better than nothing. I am sure you have heard of this line somewhere. As a complete beginner, simply doing some steady-state cardio exercise will make you feel good. Thanks to the endorphin hormone.
On top of that, it will also help reduce your stress. Running or cycling in the woods is like meditation; it not only clears your mind but also gives you the time to take a mental break from the daily grind of life.

Disadvantages of Steady-state Cardio

Despite having so many physical and mental benefits, steady-state cardio also has some drawbacks. Like everything in the universe has a good and a bad side.

Longer Workout

As you already know, steady-state cardio involves doing an exercise consistently for a longer period. This takes up lots of your time and makes the workout period longer. On top of that, steady-state cardio doesn’t burn calories as much as other cardio exercise does.
Generally, the workout time is between 45 to 60 minutes. Giving 45 minutes of your precious time just to burn a few calories might seem like a no-brainer approach to some. The repetitive nature of the exercise, again sometimes might be less enjoyable for some people. This reduces the likelihood of sticking with the routine long-term.

Limited Muscle Gain

If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, steady-state cardio is not for you. You won’t gain muscle with this exercise regime. This is for people who are just starting to work out.
On top of that, you might start to experience a plateau effect. This means you might burn fewer calories and see less improvement in fitness levels as your body adapts to the routine. There is also a potential for losing muscles instead of gaining if you don’t include strength training in your workout routine.

What is Interval Training?

Interval training is ‌just the opposite of steady-state cardio. In interval training, you workout at the highest intensity for a short period and then take a rest. This cardio workout is designed to push your body to the limit and take a rest in between before you go for the next rep.
Unlike steady-state cardio, interval training comes in many forms such as
  • HIIT - High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is short and intense. For example, you do 30 seconds of intense cardio and take a 30-second rest.  
  • Sprint Intervals - This workout is similar to HIIT, but you don’t take a rest. You sprint for 30 seconds and do mild exercise for another 30 seconds.
  • Circuit Training - This workout involves doing a series of different exercises in a sequence with little or no rest in between. For example, you do 20 push-ups, followed by 20 squats and jumping jacks.
The energy system used during this workout is anaerobic metabolism, meaning you generate energy without relying on oxygen. Instead, you rely on your stored glucose and phosphocreatine.
If steady-state cardio lasts between 45 to 60 minutes, a HIIT workout can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes with a rest period of 20 to 30 seconds before you go for the next rep.

Advantages of Interval Training

Interval training also comes with a unique benefit that you don’t get in Steady-state cardio.

Burn More Calories in a Short Time

This is the most common reason gym-goers opt for interval training over steady-state cardio. Interval workouts can be completed in a shorter time and still, you’ll burn a lot of calories.
Why would someone spend an hour to burn a few calories when they can burn maximum calories in less than 15 minutes? Something to think about, right?

Improve Your Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

When doing interval training, it takes less than 20 seconds for your heartbeat to reach its peak. This helps your heart’s ability to pump more blood, which is good for overall health.
As you don’t rely on oxygen to generate energy during the workout, you end up with excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which elevates your metabolic rate.

Improve your Overall Health

When you start doing interval training, you’re training your body to recover quickly and perform efficiently at high intensities. This helps you to improve your speed, power, and overall athletic performance.

Disadvantages of Interval Training

Risk of Injury

While doing high-intensity workouts, one wrong move or inadequate recovery time can lead to serious injury. You should make sure to maintain the correct form of the exercise.

Not for Everyone

 Most high-intensity workouts are tough to do and require a higher fitness base. Also, for you to perform any interval training, you should be mentally and physically prepared. If not, you’ll be burned out soon.

How to Personalize Your Cardio Routine?

Personalizing your cardio workout is one of the best ways to get the best out of your workout plan. Though it’s not that simple. You’ll have to access your individual goals, fitness level, exercise that you enjoy doing, and your lifestyle.   
Whatever is your cardio routine, make sure to incorporate strength training and seek professional help if needed. Also, mix up the intensity level. You can combine high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with steady-state cardio for quick and maximum results.
Lastly, track your progress and pay close attention to how your body is responding to certain exercises. If your body is fully exhausted, you can take a break for one to two days but don’t push yourself to the limit.
Here is a cardio workout routine you can try for overall fitness and health. Remember, you can always alter the routine as per your fitness level and requirements.
  • Day 1 - Steady-state cardio.
  • Day 2 - Interval training.
  • Day 3 - Rest
  • Day 4 - Steady-state cardio
  • Day 5 - Interval training.
  • Day 6 - Rest
  • Day 7 - Mixed strength training.

Which Cardio Workout Have You Decided to Choose?

Regardless of what you choose, to get results, you should change your workout routine regularly. What’s more important is - consistency. If you follow these two rules of exercise, you’ll see results in less than a year.
Now that you know the difference between steady-state cardio and interval, it’s time for some action.  Whether you want to lose weight or want to look fit, you’re one step away from becoming your best version.

Enhancing Your Cardio Workouts with Speediance Gym Monster

Whether you're a fan of steady-state cardio or prefer the intensity of interval training, incorporating the Speediance Gym Monster into your fitness routine can take your workouts to the next level. This versatile piece of equipment is designed to provide a full-body workout, making it an ideal companion for both types of cardio exercises.Click here to learn more about Speediance Gym Monster!

Lastly, everyone's fitness journey is unique. What works for a workout partner might work for you and vice versa. So, embrace the process, try different forms of exercise, and see which one gives you the best result.

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