In a previous post I spoke about what’s so great about HIIT, and all the benefits one can receive from doing this type of exercise. Yet with that high intensity, it can take a toll on your body, so to be safe you will want to make sure you are not over doing it with this exercise. The recommended time is only about 2 to 3 days a week, so what should you do on the off days?!
LISS, yes I’m throwing another acronym at you! LISS stands for low intensity steady state cardio, this type of workout consists purely of low to moderate intensity work for a steady time period. Now when I say low, I don’t mean a 1mph sleepwalk on the treadmill, this means a moderate lower intensity at about a 4mph walk.
Now many may think why would I want to go for a longer period of time, when you already said HIIT burns more calories using intervals in a shorter amount of time?! Great point, yet you cannot go at such high intensity every day without giving your body a break, so this is where the benefits of LISS come in!
Here are some pros of steady state aerobics from BodyRecomposition.com:
- Depending on the intensity, steady state aerobics tends to burn more calories during the exercise bout than interval training.
- More appropriate for beginners.
- Can be done more frequently, daily or more often (if desired) although this depends on the duration, intensity and frequency as well as the setup of the rest of the training program.
- Some research finds suggests that regular exercise helps people stick to their diet better. In that interval training can’t (well, shouldn’t) be performed daily, low intensity activity may help people stay on their diets.
Now that first one may have thrown you off a bit, no I did not lie to you in telling you that HIIT burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. According to this article, people who used the bodybugg, a device that helps you to accurately track calories during your physical activity, found that HIIT burns about the same or less calories than steady state cardio at an average intensity.
One reason for this may be because you are alternating between high and low intensities in HIIT you end up burning about the same per min averaged out as steady state cardio. Another reason they stated may because people are not pushing themselves hard enough in the high intensity portions
Yet the one reason HIIT is commonly given more attention is because of the EPOC, which is the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. In less technical terms it is how much oxygen your body is still using after the exercise, which is what leaves you with the afterburn affect. HIIT has twice the EPOC as LISS, yet you are able to go for a longer period of time with steady state being that the intensity is lower, so your calorie burns may come out to be about even.
Yet one drawback of the high intensity is that it is harder to recover from, meaning your later workouts in the week may suffer due to soreness and fatigue, which may leaving you able to do HIIT 2 to 3 times a week. You can easily do steady state up to 4 or 5 times a week without any issues though. The great thing about LISS is that you are able to burn a great amount of calories with less effort, less stress on your body!
So in the long run, alternating between the two will provide you will the greatest aerobic fat loss workout! Aim for 2 HIIT workouts a week with 3 to 4 steady state cardio workouts. Play around with it and see what works best for you.
Just remember, sometimes slow and steady can win the race!
Written By: Jentry