Can you explain the benefits of both LISS and HIIT and which is better to use and when? My main goal, right now is fat loss. I know a lot of it is in my diet and I am tightening that as we speak.
Thanks for everything.
Hey Antionette! Great question. I was wondering when someone was going to ask this. No doubt you’ve heard me recently talk about long, boring cardio (L.I.S.S.) sessions in preparation for an upcoming bodybuilding show. But you should know that elsewhere on the site I’ve also praised H.I.T.T. training. So actually I’m a fan of both! Here’s the deal…
L.I.S.S. stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio. What that basically means is that you get on a bike, a treadmill or go for a walk and keep your heart rate under 120 beats per minute. The theory is that at a lower heart, while you won’t burn as many total calories as say a high intensity session, the number of calories burned from fat will be greater. In short, this form of cardio is longer, easier and burns more fat – in theory. In general, I try to do at least a 40-minute session using this method. This method is great because it’s something you can do every day because the demand is quite low and muscle fatigue isn’t really a factor. It’s a very popular style of cardio for fat loss used by bodybuilders.
H.I.T.T. on the other hand is very different. This stands for High Intensity Interval Training and you bust your butt. It’s not uncommon to see heart rate levels near max when using this routine and usually the entire session is shorter – maybe about 20 – 30 minutes. As and example, a sprint/walk is a great routine. You essentially explode in a sprint for 20 seconds, then walk for the same and repeat. There really are no rules and you can make up your own interval times. The very essence of this style is high intensity, so anyone who says that they’re doing H.I.T.T. for an hour is not working very hard. You can work hard, or you can work long – you can’t do both.
With H.I.T.T. there are multiple benefits. First, you burn a lot of calories. Second, due to the up and down style of varying intensity, you get amazing metabolic and cardiorespiratory benefits, which you don’t see as much of with L.I.S.S. training. Also of benefit is the fact that this training takes advantage of multiple energy systems and turn you into a energy powerhouse. Plus, since many exercises are explosive in nature, you can also increase your strength in the working muscles. And with H.I.T.T you’ll burn more calories all day long due to EPOC – Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This means that following strenuous aerobic work you’ll have an increased rate of oxygen intake which means more calories burned.
So which is best and when? Well Antionette the answer is both, all the time! How’s that for confusing. By using both methods you’ll burn fat and increase your fitness level. Just as there’s a time for high and low reps, heavy and light weight, long and short rest periods etc., there’s a place for both forms of cardio in your program. I like L.I.S.S. on a more regular basis because I can sustain it daily without getting fatigued. When I perform H.I.T.T., I generally sprint 100 meters at a time for about 20 minutes and I’m sore the next day. So I can’t use that style everyday. For the last 5 weeks I used L.I.S.S. mostly, but truthfully I need a new stimulus. I believe my body became used to what I was doing and I needed to switch it up. So now I’m alternating days of both during each week.
You should also know that Tabata training is very similar to H.I.T.T. You don’t necessarily need to use traditional aerobic exercise as a mode for high intensity training. A circuit of squat press, kettlebell hip drives, burpees and pushups can be an awesome workout as well. So my suggestion is to use BOTH methods and see how you feel. Perhaps try 1 – 2 weeks of low intensity, followed by 1- 2 weeks of high intensity and then another 2 where you alternate days. That’ll provide you with awesome calorie fat burn and will help improve your conditioning and endurance too! Let me know how you do.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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