Enough with the acronyms. Let’s just start with what it all means. HIIT is short for the latest fitness trend, high intensity interval training. LISS has fallen out of favor in recent years but can still be beneficial. It stands for low intensity steady state exercise. Wondering which one is right for you? Here we’ll look at the benefits of each. At the end, you decide.
This is a type of cardiovascular exercise where you alternate periods of intense anaerobic exercise with periods of lower intensity exercise. The length of each period will depend primarily on your fitness goals and fitness level. Generally, the intense periods are performed at at least an 8 on an effort scale of 1 to 10. Lower intensity periods of exercise support recovery before the cycle repeats. Just like the length of cycles depends, the length of exercise also depends. There are some HIIT programs lasting as little as 7 or 15 minutes and others that extend for at least 60. If you’re new to HIIT start with just one short session weekly. Recovery time is important with this level of intensity. You can stick with LISS, or steady state on your other exercise days. Add in more HIIT as you build your fitness level.
Benefits of HIIT
According to the American College of Sports Medicine benefits of HIIT include improved:
• Aerobic capacity
• Cholesterol profile
• Heart health
• Blood pressure
• Better maintenance of muscle mass
• Insulin sensitivity
HIIT is also effective for helping to trim abdominal fat and promote weight loss.
Sample beginner HIIT routine
Perform as many of each exercise as you can with good form for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before going to the next move. Repeat three set times. Remember to warm up before getting started.
Low intensity, steady state exercise also provides a cardiovascular workout. During LISS you work out at the same level of intensity, usually between a 4 and 6 on the effort scale of 1 to 10, throughout the session.
Benefits of LISS
Anything the improves cardiovascular health gets a star, and LISS does. It also:
• Boosts fitness levels – you build stamina and endurance over time.
• Helps you recover – it is the perfect complement to HIIT training.
• Burns fat and calories
Sample LISS workouts include:
• Using the treadmill or elliptical equipment
Both types of exercise can be adapted for your fitness level and both boost heart health. If you’re looking for more dramatic results in less time, HIIT is probably the way to go. LISS is great for maintenance. If high intensity isn’t your thing LISS is the way to go. Ultimately, both should have a place in your exercise regimen.