HIIT Cardio: The Whole Story

HIIT Cardio: The Whole Story

By Jared Boynton | 3/22/2017

HIIT is not good enough. 

Interval training is a useful tool for increasing calorie expenditure and metabolic conditioning, but it’s simply not enough to reap the full benefits of true aerobic training. In recent years, the stigma behind steady-state cardio has been largely dispelled; we now know that there are benefits to be gained from extended aerobic training that can be gained in no other way.

The benefits of interval training have been shouted from the hilltops by every trainer and coach for the entire past decade. It’s common knowledge that HIIT does more than just burn calories. The “afterburn” effect, characterized by increased caloric expenditure following an interval training session, is old news. Here’s what you DON’T know: 

  1. Low-intensity cardiovascular training does not necessarily destroy your gains.
  2. Extended cardio should be measured by “amount of time at target heart rate”, not distance or speed.
  3. Steady-state aerobic training, done intelligently, will permanently improve blood flow through increasing capillary density.
  4. Steady state cardio will result in more efficient muscle tissue, as well as faster recovery times between workouts.       

As a rule of thumb, cardiovascular training done at a steady state of exertion should aim to keep your heart rate between 120-140 BPM (aka Zone 2). Exertion at this level will allow you to reap all the benefits listed above while avoiding the downfalls of more extreme endurance training.

Aim for 3 to 4 sessions per week at roughly 20 to 40 minutes per session, and make it something you enjoy doing. You don’t have to plug along in place on a treadmill – take a hike, ride a bike, go kayaking. Find something that interests you, stay consistent, and rake in the benefits.


 Jared Boynton is a strength, performance, and conditioning coach with a wide range of knowledge on nutrition, supplementation, biomechanics. His experience has been proven through years of real-world implementation with both his own physique and the physiques of numerous clients. You can contact Jared via email at Coach@JaredBoynton.com.

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