Which Burns More Calories? Steady State Cardio vs. Multiple Bouts

Starting today and over the next two weeks, I will stage a comparison of two approaches to a daily workout. From May 1 to May 7, each day I will do 30 minutes of steady state cardio using a stair stepper. I will wear a heart rate strap and will work toward my usual high rate of the low 160s. I am a 54 year old female and by the various Max Heart Rate calculations, the low 160s is a target at the higher range of conditioning.

From May 8 to May 14, I will do TWO daily bouts of 15 minutes each instead, morning and then late day or early evening. I am expecting that I will be able to maintain a higher intensity because I will be working for less time and I expect that my overall calorie burn for the day should be higher. But how much higher? That’s the question I’m hoping to answer!

I will be using a version 3 BodyBugg and, while I generally do not count calories, I will keep my daily diet fairly stable over the next two weeks. I eat a rather simple diet as it is.

The stepper I’ll be using is the Stamina SpaceMate. It’s amazingly inexpensive for how sturdy it is. I highly recommend it! I grew to appreciate the benefits of stair climbing after I got into climbing my building but I did get tired of feeling “cooped up” in the stairwell and the flights are just seven steps each requiring two turns for each floor. I also would have to stop at the top and take the elevator back down to start again and I wanted to keep my heart rate up so I’ve bought my own stair climber.


At my age and given that I work at home, I am finding that my daily calorie burn tends to be low. It’s made managing my weight that much more of a challenge. I am also peri-menopausal and hormonal changes can have an impact on weight. Which approach to daily cardio will be a more efficient and effective use of my time? The next two weeks will tell! I will write up a full report in two weeks but I’ll Tweet my daily calorie burn @powerfulhunger



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    • Cat on May 1, 2014 at 4:52 am

    I will be very interested in what you learn from this experiment!

    1. Yes I’m looking forward to it! I hope I see a significant enough difference. I don’t want to just work harder, I want to work smarter!

    • Nanette on May 1, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the results here! I may have to get one of these, it looks like it would fit under my bed, I just have to figure out what I can get rid of so the husband will allow it!

    1. I have to fold it up for my cleaning lady later today so I’ll take a pic of what it looks like folded. I have been very impressed with it considering it was under $100. I’ve kept an allen key handy and have had to tighten it here and there but that’s it. I put a towel on the base so the pedals don’t hit quite as hard. They have little bumpers on the bottom but I prefer to soften the step and eliminate the noise.

      I LOVE the stairs because even when you slow down, you’re still lifting your bodyweight again and again so your heart rate stays up. But I just got so sick of that stairwell! And this cost about the same as a six month membership to my building’s health club so there ya go!

      I also greatly prefer and recommend manual equipment. You are working against the resistance of the machine and you can do intervals.

      If you decide to buy a stepper, please use my link as I will make a couple dollars through Amazon Associates! 🙂

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