Should I “HIT” or stay Steady State

Skim any of the thousands of fitness and health articles floating around the internet and in magazines, and you are bound to see two of the most commonly referenced terms in discussions of cardiovascular exercise — so-called “steady state cardio” and “HIIT or high intensity interval training.” Both have been flouted and touted over the years, and many methodologies hit on the importance of incorporating both into a well-rounded fitness routine. However, much of the fitness industry seems to discuss the two forms of cardio as though they are binary and mutually exclusive, when in fact, they are two points in a spectrum of intensities. Depending on your specific fitness goals, a training program might incorporate workout intensities from many different points along this spectrum, not just the two extremes.
Many articles spend a significant amount of time focusing on the benefits of one intensity or the dangers of another. In particular, they warn that too much HIIT can result in injury or overtraining, while exclusively steady state workouts can place stress on the same joints over time, leading to injury. Generally, the two are referenced (incorrectly) as the only possibilities for training.
At Killer B Fitness, we aim to include the full spectrum of cardio training, rather than incorporating cardio in two discrete, polarized ways; it’s designed to avoid injuries and plateaus in both fitness and weight loss. We know our program gets results and keeps people motivated through years of membership. We’ve done the research and helped people become more fit than they’ve ever been in their lives!
However, this research can be difficult for many people to understand or assess for themselves because the fitness industry throws around words and acronyms like “HIIT,” ‘Fat Burning,” “Long Slow Distance (LSD),” with very little explanation. Let’s take a look at a few of these intensities and how we incorporate them at Killer B Fitness:
Aerobic Endurance (Our Zone 2) – This is also referred to as LSD pace, Fat Burning Pace, or conversation pace. This is a pace that is roughly 45-65% of your max and something that you could hold for up to several hours. We do very little of this kind of training at Killer B. This type of training is not very effective for building fitness unless you are training more than 6 hours per week and doing workouts that are longer than an hour.
Tempo (Our Zone 3) – This is also known as Steady State Cardio. This is a pace that is roughly 65-80% of your max. This is typically done a steady hard effort lasting up to 1 hour or done in intervals that are between 10 and 20 minutes in length where the rest period is 10-25% of the interval length. Think Hard Killer B workout where this is very little or no rest for the entire hour.
Threshold (Our Zone 4) – This is what is commonly referred to as interval training. This is a pace that is roughly 80-90% of your max. This is typically done in intervals that last between 3 and 7 minutes in length where the rest period is 25-75% of the interval. Think Baseline test effort or a Killer B workout at a very hard pace but you get a good amount of recovery.
V02 Max (Our Zone 5) – This is what is commonly referred to as HIT or Max Effort. This is a pace that is roughly 90-100% of your max. This is typically done in intervals that last between 20 seconds and 2 minutes in length where the recovery is 100-200% of the interval.
All of the research and recommendations circulated by fitness and health publications are not necessarily incorrect – you do need to blend multiple intensities into your training in order to achieve your true fitness potential. The one thing they don’t mention is that there are intensities other than “HIIT” and “Steady State” that are important to work into your program. This is exactly how we get people so incredibly fit compared to other programs that focus only on HIIT. We train members like one would train any elite or professional endurance athlete. We build fitness in a range of intensities (Zone 2, 3, 4 and 5), which allows our members to see the best results in their personal fitness and health goals.
Written by Kyle Visin, Manager of Killer B Fitness [email protected]

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Comments (2)

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    Brad Frohling


    The KB program makes heaps of sense and works…. While not always embraced due to the challenge aspect but why not make our time count resulting in new found fitness levels?!


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    Sarah Kass


    This explanation makes the training zones and reasons for them so clear. Thanks, Kyle!


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Killer B Fitness Center Santa Barbara

1107 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Killer B Fitness Center Goleta

191 S. Turnpike Road
Goleta, CA 93111


(805) 448-2222
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