HIIT and LISS are two of the most ultimate forms of cardio programs one can choose to execute within their fitness journey.The two programs have been compared and debated upon since the golden era of bodybuilding, and both have its advantages and disadvantages. Well, we’re here to help you get a more in-depth look at the two cardio programs, and hope that it will help you to determine which would be best for you in your quest for a healthier and happier life.
Back in the day, fitness professionals encouraged what is known as low-intensity, steady-state cardio, or LISS for short. This method of cardio recommended cardiovascular exercises such as a light jog or brisk walk in order to get into what is called the “fat-burning zone,” which is a level of physical intensity where an individual burns a greater percentage of fat than carbohydrates. LISS exercises usually last between 30-60 minutes and aimed to work at a 40%-60% heart rate, and you’ll know if you are doing it correctly if you can still actively hold a conversation without having to catch your breath.
Nowadays, most fitness professionals tend to favor a method called High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short. HIIT involves switching between periods of high intensity and low intensity. As a result of this cardio, metabolism is elevated and continues burning calories after an exercise is performed due to post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC,) but the exercises are much more vigorous. Commonly used among athletes, exercises tend to be much shorter in contrast to LISS exercises, and its primary energy source comes from carbohydrates, while its second source comes from fat. Some researchers have even concluded that 15 minutes of HIIT twice per week is equivalent to a one-hour session of LISS.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that these two methods are absolute polar opposites in relation, scientific research and expert opinion still cannot determine that one is “better” than the other. Some aspects of HIIT basically make it more efficient to burn fat than LISS, but LISS can still burn fat and could potentially be the better choice for certain individuals who can only do exercises with low-intensity levels. Before you decide which one may be best for you, though, it is worth noting the advantages to each of these cardio methods:
1. Time Efficiency – You are able to burn more calories in less time with HIIT as opposed to LISS. This is very beneficial to those who run on a tight schedule throughout the day or those who simply prefer getting their workouts done as quickly as possible.
2. Athletically-Targeted – Sports require a higher intensity of performance by nature; whether it’s football, basketball, MMA, etc. They require bursts of power, strength, and speed, all which can be trained via HIIT exercises.
3. More Fun – Let’s be honest, we all get tired of doing the same thing every day and during ever exercise. Why not switch up that one-hour treadmill session for a variety of more challenging (and shorter) HIIT exercises. This reason alone is why movements such as Crossfit have increased dramatically in popularity.
1. Extra Caloric Burn – Just like HIIT, a few weekly sessions of LISS can definitely help to reach your fat loss goals, all at a low physical intensity.
2. Less Likely To Get Injured – Performing exercises that require a higher intensity can potentially get you hurt. If getting hurt is a concern for you, the lower intensity workouts that are allowed in LISS will support the prevention of potential injury.
3. Less Energy Needed – As we mentioned, LISS could only mean something as easy as a brisk walk or light jog. The low intensity involved makes it an ideal cardio exercise for those who simply cannot perform at high intensity, whether it be because of physical inability or due to its higher level of difficulty.
Which cardio method do you find more effective in your workout programs? Have you tried both LISS and HIIT in the past? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!