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HIIT or LISS: Intense Bursts of Interval Training Vs. Chilled-Out, Continuous Exercise

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HIIT or LISS: Intense Bursts of Interval Training Vs. Chilled-Out, Continuous Exercise

Combining bursts of intense exercise with fixed periods of recuperation, High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is all the rage in the fitness world these days. You’re likely to encounter this zealous approach to exercise in every gym you visit, from boxing classes and private training sessions to branded regimens like Orange Theory and CrossFit. HIIT is designed to burn fat, get your heart pumping, and push you to your limits.

But people are getting burned out by pushing themselves to the breaking point – and there’s a newcomer in town that’s making waves. Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio (or LISS) is the antithesis of HIIT – a less intense alternative to all that maxing out.

HIIT or LISS? Most people are likely to benefit from an exercise regimen that includes both.

High-Intensity Interval Training

What Is It?

HIIT combines 20 to 30 seconds of intense cardio exercise done at your maximum effort, interspersed with periods of recovery. You go all-out for short bursts of time, reaching up to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate before cooling down.

What Does It Look Like?

On a treadmill, HIIT might involve sprinting as fast as you can for three minutes, and then walking for four minutes. Each interval is repeated twice, for a total of 25 minutes.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

Pros: High-Intensity Interval Training is designed to torch calories and burn fat – and it does, at a higher rate than LISS. It also builds muscles, strengthens your heart, and helps your body to burn more calories even after you’ve stopped exercising. HIIT is also an extremely efficient form of exercise – you’ll get a lot done in a little amount of time. It’s perfect for people who don’t want to spend hours at the gym.

Cons: HIIT can be dangerous if you’re not already fit or you don’t have good training. Going all-out, all of the time also lends itself to exercise burnout.

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Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio

What Is It?

LISS features a more relaxed level of exertion and moderate intensity. It requires a lower endurance level, and reaches 50-65% of your maximum heart rate over a longer period of time when compared to HIIT.

What Does It Look Like?

On a treadmill, Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio might involve walking quickly or jogging at a slow pace for 45 minutes. LISS could also be an easy hike, relaxed swim, or slow bike ride.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

Pros: LISS is an ideal choice for people who are new to the gym or just beginning their journey towards a healthier body and life. It’s also much easier on the joints, and might be better suited for people with older bones. LISS also helps to reduce your resting heart rate.

Cons: Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio burns less fat and calories when compared to HIIT, and doesn’t do much to build muscles or increase your strength. A LISS workout requires a larger amount of time, which you’ll need to increase in the future to see the same benefits.

Conclusion: HIIT or LISS?

All in all, it’s easy to determine the best workout: it’s the done that you will actually do. To benefit most from an HIIT workout, you need to do it in conjunction with LISS – and vice-versa. Adopting a fitness regimen and a healthier lifestyle requires time, energy, and money – and it’s the best investment that you will ever make.

Related on Organic Authority
Orange Theory Fitness: Torch Calories Without Living at the Gym
5 Tips to Find Your Ideal Workout Plan
5 Hiking Essentials for the Perfect Outdoor Experience

Woman lifting weights image via Shutterstock

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