If you’ve ever worked on getting fit, chances are you’ve done steady state cardio, i.e. around 60 minutes of constant cardio that kept your heart at an elevated rate. New studies show that high intensity interval training (HIIT) allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat. As an added bonus, there’s also an afterburn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You increase your metabolism and burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns almost NO calories after.

This is not to say that steady-state cardio has no place in fitness. I’m actually a big fan of it myself. I taught advanced step classes for 22 years and no other type of workout drenches me in sweat like that does. Benefits of steady-state cardio include 1) faster recovery between your HIIT and strength training sessions. 2)  Steady-state cardio doesn’t take as large a toll on your body as a HIIT session, which can make dieting easier and increase your calorie burn without over-stressing your system. 3) You will burn calories. If you’re sedentary and start moving, you will see results but you won’t get the same post-workout calorie burn as you would a good interval sprint session. 4) It’s great for developing your aerobic fitness level and increasing your cardiovascular endurance. 5) If you find something you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with it. If steady-state cardio is what you like best, go for it!

But, keep in mind, HIIT is superior for fat burning. Fast-paced bursts of all-out cardio punctuated by short rest intervals have been touted as key for fat loss, and for good reason. HIIT burns more calories than low-intensity cardio per session. It also places greater recovery demands on your body, which causes you to burn more calories after training than you would in a standard hour-long treadmill session.

So what are some great examples of HIIT training? Glad you asked!

The combinations are endless when it comes to HIIT workouts. 

HIIT training for on the track:


Off the track you will want to do similar intervals, but use time as a measurement instead of distance:


HIIT training in the gym: