Ask A Trainer: What's Better For Me, HIIT vs. LISS?

Wellness

January 12, 2018 | BY Rachel Crothers

Want to know which workout is the best for your body type and lifestyle? Rachel Crothers, a personal trainer at Ultimate Performance Hong Kong, breaks down the benefits of HIIT and LISS

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), as the name implies, involves bouts of high-intensity periods of exercise, alternated with low to moderate periods of recovery. LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) is generally light-to-moderate activities, such as jogging or hiking, that can be performed for extended periods of time. 

See also: Ask A Trainer: What Is Intermittent Fasting & Is It For Me?

If you’re someone with body composition goals, weight training should form the base of any good exercise regime. However, both HIIT and LISS are forms of cardio that can complement your strength training, and benefit your overall health. 

The benefits of HIIT

  • It increases your overall work capacity and fitness. You will be able to tolerate a high level of intensity for longer, which transfers to better endurance during all types of exercise. You might even notice that you start to get more done in the office as well.
  • Raises your metabolic rate through increased oxygen consumption. EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) is also increased, which means burning more calories after the session. Bonus!
  • Time and cost efficient—which is great for those that are busy but need to get their cardio in. You can also do HIIT without any equipment, meaning you can get sweaty anytime, anywhere.

The benefits of LISS

  • It’s easy to recover from, and can actually enhance recovery. Getting the blood lightly flowing the next day after a tough strength session will aid in an active recovery, delivering nutrients quicker to the damaged muscles so you can train harder again sooner.
  • It gets you outdoors and can be done with family and friends. The benefits of fresh air and vitamin D should not be underestimated.
  • It can be a useful tool for stress relief, as bringing down cortisol levels is a key component of weight management.

So which is better?                               

The fitness industry can create a lot of confusion, with trends coming and going and everyone claiming they have found the next best super food or miracle workout routine. However, there is no need to overcomplicate or over think it. 

A type of exercise that works for one person may not work as well for the next. Someone who completes four metabolically demanding weight training sessions per week may find a hike on the weekend more beneficial from a psychological and recovery standpoint, while a busy CEO short on time will get more calorie bang for buck from a HIIT session.

See also: Ask A Trainer: How Do I Lose Belly Fat Fast?

You may find that the best way forward is to switch it up between HIIT and LISS from week to week depending on what your body is telling you. 

Everything your personal trainer tells you will have a common undertone—consistency! Find an exercise you enjoy, and do it regularly and consistently. Add a high protein diet with plenty of vegetables, avoid processed foods, and you can’t go wrong.

Learn more about staying fit with Ultimate Performance Hong Kong

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