There is a continuous debate going on between fitness professionals, celebs and even my clients keep asking which type of cardio workout one should do to get better and faster results on their weight loss journey. In this blog I will explain how they each work, what their benefits are and what advice I give to both my personal training and fitness class clients. Stay tuned.
There are many online fitness solutions available from the internet that are advertised as the ultimate solutions for fast fat loss and toned muscles, most of them will include or be based on some sort of high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Their reviews are full of testimonials from people who went through amazing transformations by following them and for good reason. However, having worked with a wide range of people I have an understanding that many try these ‘cookie cutter’ type workouts and fail getting results. They are the majority and you won’t hear from them.
With the increasing popularity of CrossFit and similar style circuit workouts low intensity cardio exercise nearly went forgotten until Kayla Itsines brought it back into the fitness world by naming it LISS (Low Intensity Steady State). Bodybuilders had been using this method for decades to shed fat when prepping for competition.
HIIT in detail
The idea of this style of exercise is that you push yourself to the very limits of your body for a short burst of time, then recover in a low intensity phase and repeat that in intervals for a maximum of 20-30 minutes. The idea is that you force your body to dig into an energy system that creates a metabolic effect that lasts longer than your workout and can burn calories up to 24-36 hours after your session.
With extreme exertion comes longer recovery time since HIIT training puts your body under high level of stress in the chemical sense. This means it’s very important to leave sufficient time for your body to recover before another HIIT session, otherwise you’re risking overtraining. This is especially true when your stress levels are already high due to work or other lifestyle factors.
HIIT can be performed pretty much anywhere;
LISS includes any low intensity aerobic exercise that you can maintain for an extended period. This method is the opposite of HIIT to an extent, you need to keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone for at least 45 minutes. The body is most efficient for burning fat per calorie when it has plenty of oxygen available and performing a LISS workout allows just that.
Besides its fat burning benefit, staying active on a low intensity for an extended time has many health benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness, better recovery and general health. Low intensity will be different for everybody though, an athlete can probably be jogging and still staying in that heart rate zone, whilst a complete beginner will need to stick to a much lower pace.
LISS can be performed:
Should you do LISS or HIIT?
I would say you should do both depending on a few things.
Research shows that regular HIIT (HIIE as it’s called in the journal) has many proven benefits, including better fat loss results and improved cardio fitness. This is not to say that one should stop doing LISS and from now on hit the HIIT sessions every day as both of them have their place in a balanced exercise program.
My recipe for great results is combination of resistance based strength training and HIIT sessions performed 2-3 times a week either in themselves or as part of a comprehensive workout plan; LISS exercised performed also 2-3 times a week, it can be especially beneficial on rest days to aid recovery.
For people who can’t perform HIIT for medical or mobility reasons should do as much LISS as possible.
Have you got a question on how to perform HIIT safely or you’d like to try how I apply these principles with my clients? Get in touch and feel free to ask!
My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.