Why you Should do More Steady State Cardio

Victor Williams

November 20, 2020

Don’t underestimate the importance of steady state training. It can do wonders for boosting performance and health.

Are you the type of person who hates going for long runs and spending time on the elliptical because, “it’s boring” or maybe because you’re, “just not good at cardio?" If so, I certainly understand your pain! Coming out of college, as a relatively in-shape former D1 athlete, I could barely run a half mile without getting extremely gassed. It was discouraging at first, but I stuck with it and it’s paid dividends.

What many people fail to realize is that baseline cardio, or aerobic capacity, is a major foundation of fitness and overall health. Oftentimes referred to as “steady state” cardio, the concept is to train at a consistent effort for a long period of time, so that the body becomes more efficient at maintaining homeostasis - relatively normal bodily function - while having to do a little more work. Because the heart rate is only slightly more increased than when sitting idle, the body still relies on the same energy system to pump blood to the rest of your body. Can you see how a better performing heart would make you more resistant to coronary heart disease and the like?

Don’t get me wrong, high intensity interval training is great, but I can almost guarantee that 98% of the average person’s time is not spent cycling back and forth from high intensity to low intensity, so why would we train this way most of the time? The goal with exercise should be to train in a way that boosts overall health and helps you better perform the things that are required of you on a day-to-day basis. Training should translate to the real world. Remember, long term consistency trumps short term intensity.

Lastly, steady state cardio can help your body develop the ability to more efficiently use fat as fuel, and is usually lower in impact on the body (if you use an elliptical or rower vs a treadmill) making it easier to recover from than it is HIIT. For those who call it boring, if you put yourself in the right mindset by throwing on a podcast, your favorite music playlist, or maybe by taking a scenic route if you’re running outdoors - it can be a fairly therapeutic way to burn some calories!

Long story short, don’t underestimate the importance of steady state training. It can do wonders for boosting performance and health.

Need advice on how to work this into your training? Reach out! Always here if you need me. Happy Training!