For the last several years steady-state cardio has been the redheaded stepchild of the fitness community, with most people rallying around high-intensity interval training for its purported benefit of burning more calories in a shorter period of time. A new study published in The Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research shows that HIIT might not be the magic calorie-burning bullet everyone thinks it is.
Researchers examined the number of calories burned during exercise and the three hours afterward when a group of recreational athletes performed three separate workouts: Steady-state cardio for 30 minutes, HIIT (four four-minute intervals with three minutes between), and sprint training (six 30-second efforts.) At the end of the experiment, the researchers found that even taking into account the much-hyped “afterburn effect” that comes with HIIT, the steady-state group burned just as many calories as those who participated in more intense cardio.
With all of the health-promoting and restorative effects of submaximal cardio, it might be time to start going long and slow(ish) a few times a week.