Sprints or steady?

Hi, how’s your day going? I’m so happy you like the breakfast casserole recipe. Let me know if any of you give it a try! It was fantastic this morning topped with salsa and wrapped in a tortilla. Mmm.

Some things to tell you this lovely afternoon:

1) Sriracha, olive oil and tamari may be my newest favorite salad dressing 

Salad  1 of 1


2) these Paleo granola bars rock my world. I made them yesterday and the pan is now halfway gone. It was mostly Liv, I swear… 😉 

Paleo bars  1 of 1 3

The recipe was extremely easy (just chop the ingredients and combine)

Paleo bars  1 of 1

and Liv helped me mix everything in the bowl. I’m pretty sure they taste better because she helped 🙂

Paleo bars  1 of 1 2

We used chia seeds instead of sesame -didn’t have any- and a little extra chocolate chips. (Who measures chocolate chips, really?) I especially love a bar with a cup of coffee: the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

Since I chose sleep over my am workout since we were out late last night, I was able to get in a short cardio session this afternoon. Today was my “tempo run” day, but I just wasn’t feeling it since the weather was starting to warm up. Instead, I did one of my favorite row and run workouts.


I alternated between running and rowing for 30 minutes, and was drenched in sweat afterwards. 

While I was going back and forth between the treadmill and the rower, I was thinking to myself how much I prefer intervals over steady state. I like going fast, taking a rest and then doing it again. It makes the workout fly by, and keeps me from getting bored. I also feel like intervals are easier for me than long, steady state workouts, but know that there are benefits to both types of training.

Some interval perks:

-Increased EPOC and mitochondrial density, which means your metabolism is elevated after the workout. Usually this occurs the most within 60 minutes following your interval session.

-Increased speed and fitness performance. You are training your body to work harder and faster.

-Increased recovery time. The amount of time for your heart rate to return to resting and the frequency of interval training are negatively correlated. 

-Heart health from getting into your anaerobic zone.

-You can do it anywhere!

-More bang for your buck. If you don’t have a lot of time to work out, interval training is the way to go. You’ll burn around the same amount of calories as a longer, less-internse workout, and amazing endorphins. Something to keep in mind: you don’t want to interval train every day. Your heart is a muscle and needs rest, just like your other muscles in order to allow adequate recovery. Remember: results occur during rest. 

Why we need steady state:

-It’s a great option for beginners. The best way to begin a cardio fitness program is with small bouts of steady state cardio, adding in time and intensity as you become more comfortable.

-It’s a great calorie-burning and fat-torching option.

-Heart health and increased endurance.

-Can help defend the body against insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity. 

BOTH HIIT and steady state improve cardiovascular, metabolic and skeletal muscle function in the body. The best type of cardio is the one you love and you know you’ll do! Of course, remember to alternate intensities and give yourself enough rest and recovery to see the proverbial fruits of your labor.

Are you more of an interval fan or do you like long, steady state cardio? I think it depends on the mode of cardio, too; Zumba, I could go forever, but I would be miserable on a bike. 

New Zumba video coming in the am!



More: HIIT vs. steady state and my favorite research-based HIIT methods



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  1. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on September 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Definitely an interval girl too! Steady state is waaaay to monotonous for me! I like the challenge and variety that intervals bring to a workout!

  2. Lisa on September 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Those granola bars look amazing!
    I definitely prefer intervals over steady state cardio. Just for the fact that it keeps me from getting super bored! Since I tend to be a little antsy, it really helps for the time to pass by faster and keeps me entertained for the most part.

  3. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on September 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    It’s a tough call for me — my workout style really depends on my mood. But I try to do a mix of both interval & steady state, and not favor one type too much. It’s all in the balance! 🙂

    • Captain Competition on September 24, 2013 at 8:23 am

      I mix it up as well. Intervals are more fun (if cardio can really be fun) but steady state is more mental toughness. There are benefits to both, some days it is just easier to jump on the treadmill and hit start and lose yourself in the pace, other days it requires a planned interval workout.

  4. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on September 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I’m definitely more of an interval fan, especially on cardio equipment! Occasionally if the weather is really nice, I like to go out for a nice steady state run though.

  5. Molly on September 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Definitely a steady state girl! I’d rather do 10 miles than 30 min of intervals

  6. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run on September 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    those paleo bars look and sound great. saving that recipe for sure!

  7. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on September 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I used to be all about HIIT but since I started hard core marathon training there is something so relaxing about going out and just running at a steady comfortable pace, so I will actually have to go with long slow distances but I love interval and speed workouts just the same! They all have their place.

  8. Brittani on September 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I used to think intervals were the devil but lately I’ve been digging them. They definitely make the time fly by and I feel so accomplished afterwards!

  9. Brooke @ denaultstudios.blogspot.com on September 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Sprint or steady? Depends on the day. I go through phases. I like sprints because I like being able to very noticeably see improvements in my speed. However, there is something kind of zen for me about a steady jog.

  10. Abi on September 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Definitely intervals when I’m on a treadmill. On the other hand, when I’m outside I love a steady long run.

  11. Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.wordpress.com on September 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Physiological benefits aside, I LOVE running intervals! I strongly believe running is 70% mental, and for me, nothing breaks up a run and occupies my mind like intervals!

  12. Mer on September 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Gonna have to give that salad dressing a try!

  13. JennP on September 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Have you heard of Orangetheory Fitness? A few OTF gyms have popped up in my area in the past few years, and I’m planning to give it a try. This post made me think of it, because their classes do alternating blocks between the treadmill, indoor rower and weights. Maybe an idea for a ‘Focus On’ post…?

  14. Colleen on September 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Since becoming a mom, I’ve been all about the interval training. But, on the weekend when I can get hubby to watch the baby, I love doing a nice long, leisurely run outside. Steady state running has always been my way of destressing and processing problems, more like moving meditation than cardio!

  15. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on September 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    90% of the time, I prefer intervals to steady state – especially when I’m doing a workout indoors. That being said, sometimes a slow, steady run is necessary!

  16. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on September 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I am a HIIT girl all the way!

  17. Jackie on September 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I like both hItt and steady state I prefer steady state for relaxing runs

  18. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on September 23, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I NEED to try these bars! Mmm! 🙂

  19. Andrea @ The Fit Scoop on September 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I actually like both types of workouts – I like the variety. I’ve been doing steady state for a while now (I’m 33 weeks pregnant) so I’m excited to get back to some hard intervals after baby!

  20. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on September 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I totally agree about it depending on the activity. I could ride my bike outside for hours and I love Zumba but put me on a cardio machine and I need intervals!!

  21. Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite on September 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    For some reason I DESPISE long, stale and boring steady state cardio. I always have (even when I ran track in HS I want a hurdler and hated the mile “warm ups”). Intervals are definitely the way to go for me! I still need to try the rower for the first time- I’m still a little intimidated.

  22. Dominique @ That's What Domi Said on September 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I am all about the intervals! Especially sprints out in the open (like a track or on a soccer field) because to me, that’s flying. Oh, and I love doing workouts that are full of supersets/circuits and moderate-heavy weights…I count that as its own kind of interval “cardio” haha 😉

  23. ali on September 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I used to LOOOOOOVE steady state. I could walk for hours on end at 4.8-5 mph. I then switched jobs and no longer have time to do it and feel in love with HIIT. I’m still trying to figure out my caloric needs when doing HIIT instead of steady state though.

  24. Niki on September 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    This was a great reminder for me to add more intervals into my cardio sessions. Thanks!

  25. Emily on September 24, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I know intervals are key to getting faster/better, but I dread speed work. I’d rather plug along forever at a steady pace.

    Those paleo bars look delish!

  26. Lisa on September 24, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Those granola bars look delicious!! 🙂

    I am definitely a HIIT girl!

  27. Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen on September 24, 2013 at 7:05 am

    I used to think I was more of a steady state girl, but lately I’ve started doing some treadmill sprints at the end of my weights workouts and I love how much of a cardio workout I get in only 10 minutes!

  28. Amanda on September 24, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I’ve always preferred interval training, but in the past year or so I’ve gotten into running and I’m learning to love steady state training as well.

    I’m making those bars ASAP! They look delish

  29. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on September 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Intervals for sure! I love the opportunity to push myself and then get that minute or two to recover. Turbo Fire HIITs are one of my favorites but I’ve been changing it up with running, as well!

  30. Jolene on September 24, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I can’t decide….I think it definitely depends on my mood and the way my body feels. Lately I have been loving the steady state but when I am short on time, HIIT is my best friend and I leave the workout drenched in sweat feeling like a million bucks!

  31. Livi on September 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    intervals are awesome– I love getting my heart pounding and feeling like a champ when I conquer those high intensities!

  32. Elyse @ Lizzie Fit on September 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I am all about the intervals 100%. I get way too bored doing steady state and I definitely don’t get as much out of my workout. I often combine both into one cardio session but if I have to choose one, HIIT always wins 🙂

  33. Anna @ Fitness à la Anna on September 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I love me some intervals! Especially during the week when I work a pretty hectic schedule, I find it the best way to compromise my desire to sneak in a workout and my time constraints. I love it when a 20 minute HIIT workout leaves me a sweaty mess – I feel like I got the job done!!

  34. krystal on September 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Can you please share your ratio of sriracha, olive oil and tamari you use for your dressing?? #drooling

    • Fitnessista on September 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

      they were about equal parts- i didn’t measure

  35. Liesl @ Fitnessinthekitchen on September 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I’m definitely more of an interval girl! Like you said, the workout flys by.

  36. Samina on September 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    It´s really a personal choice, i like to go all out without too many breaks. I find the results are excellent and while my body can handle it, i will keep going.
    Pls keep up the good tips for us, you have a great following.

    Signed up for your future tips, thanks

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