High Intensity or Low Intensity Steady-State Cardio Training: Which is Best for Fat Loss

Before you get started wasting hours upon hours on a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine, I’m sure you’re probably wondering what’s the best exercises for burning (and keeping off) extra body fat? Is low intensity, steady-state cardio (such as, jogging, walking) better or is high intensity (such as, sprints or jumping rope) better for burning body fat? You will burn body fat doing both (because something is always better than nothing), however, the REAL question is which is more effective for fat loss. And I would definitely say high intensity has been my body’s best friend for losing weight, getting rid of the stubborn body fat, and keeping exercise fun + exciting!



Our bodies may burn more calories during low intensity exercises like walking or a leisurely swim, however, during a high intensity exercise like running, our bodies burn a lot MORE fat and that’s because high intensity cardio exercises crank up your metabolism even after your workout is done. This means that your body will continue to burn body fat hours after you have completed your workout. According to research, this effect is almost nonexistent in low intensity cardio or aerobic workout.

Some additional benefits of high intensity training with interval training versus low intensity steady-state cardio, include:

  • Less time in the gym or spent working out to burn a certain amount of calories. With high intensity training, you can burn just as much, if not more, in less time!

  • Improved cardiovascular health, increased antioxidant protection, and improved immune function.

  • Reduced risk for joint wear and tear, as well as, reduction in muscle wasting because you’re spending less time exercising with high intensity training.

  • Teaches your heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands, making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way -- Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state cardio training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

By incorporating high intensity interval training into your regimen at least twice a week, you will begin to lose the unwanted body fat healthily & naturally.

Physical variability in intensity (or just switching up the intensity) is one of the most important aspects to consider in your weight loss and training efforts. Here are two examples to help you get started with high intensity interval training:


1. HIIT Cardio Workout: Warm-up for 3-5 minutes with a brisk walk or light jog; Perform AMRAP (as many reps as possible) in 30 seconds for each exercise with 15 second rest between moves; Repeat these 5 moves a total of 4 times for a complete workout.

  • Jumping Jacks

  • Alternating Front & Reverse Lunges

  • Bodyweight Squats

  • Alternating Lateral Lunges

  • Burpees

2. Treadmill Interval Training Workout: Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk at an incline between level 2 and 6; For the routine, there is no incline. Repeat these 4 intervals 4 times for an intense 20-minute workout.

  • Interval 1 - run at 8.0 mi/hour for 1 minute;

  • Interval 2 - walk at 4.0 mi/hour for 1.5 minutes;

  • Interval 3 - run at 10.0 mi/hour for 1 minute;

  • Interval 4 - walk at 4.0 mi/hour for 1.5 minutes;

By incorporating high intensity interval training into your regimen at least 2-3x a week, you will begin to lose the unwanted body fat healthily & naturally, as well as, you will begin to reap the most benefits in terms of heart health and a strong, lean body!


Need help getting started on your weight loss & fitness journey? Check out the Glow & Grow Fitness Shop Page to purchase the 30-Day Beginner's Weight Loss Guide which provides a full calendar of beginner friendly workouts, sample meal plan & recipes, as well as tips for success!


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