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Why is it that for the majority of us lifting heavy weights for 2 hours is as easy as 1, 2, 3 yet one minute of cardio is a soul-destroying ordeal that requires superhuman levels of motivation? Honestly, we wish we had the answer. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, there also happens to be two broad types of cardio to choose from – namely LISS and HIIT. Read our blog to find out what they are and which type of cardio you should be doing.

The cause for cardio

First and foremost, is cardio even necessary? Yes. Whether your goal is to burn and shed some fat or to improve your athletic performance, cardio can bring you one step closer to achieving either.

What is LISS?

The acronym, LISS, stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio. As implied by its name, LISS is any cardio that you perform for a prolonged period of time at a constant pace. While you will most likely work up a sweat, it is not an intense form of exercise. Examples of LISS would be a casual jog, cycle on a stationary bike, walk on the treadmill, hike or swim.

This form of cardio is not as taxing or strenuous as HIIT, and takes considerably longer to complete.

Benefits of LISS

  • Offers faster recovery which allows LISS to be performed multiple times without overexerting the body.
  • Less strenuous and taxing.
  • Burns fat and calories.
  • Improves aerobic fitness
  • Helps to vary your workout regime.

What is HIIT?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a training approach that alternates between low to moderate intensity intervals and high intensity intervals. An example would be 30 seconds of sprinting followed by jogging at a steady pace for a minute and then repeating these intervals. This principle can be applied to various exercises such as lunges, squats and press-ups too.

Life, in these times, is increasingly hectic and busy so it’s no mystery why HIIT has grown in popularity. It allows participants to burn a considerable amount of fat and calories in a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, your post exercise metabolism will be boosted for hours after exercise, burning additional calories (Skelly et al, 2014). HIIT’s fat burning potential has been supported by various studies that have suggested that HIIT training can be a time-efficient component of weight management training programs for improving body composition(Wewege Mvan den Berg RWard RE and Keech A, 2017).

Benefits of HIIT

  • Time-efficient, allowing workouts to be completed in relatively less time.
  • Burns an equal amount of calories in less time (Foster et al, 2015).
  • Boosts post exercise metabolism.
  • Preserves muscle mass as opposed to using up both fat and muscle tissue.

Which is best?

As demonstrated above, both forms of cardio have their merits. An ideal fitness regime will incorporate both types of exercise to maximise the benefits of each, ensure workout variety and develop well-rounded fitness.

Naturally, time will be a major factor when choosing between the two types of cardio. LISS simply won’t be an option if you’re short of time and conversely, HIIT cannot be sustained for a long period of time.

Hate it or love it, we’d all do well to include some cardio in our workout programs.

References:

Foster, C., Farland, C. V., Guidotti, F., Harbin, M., Roberts, B., Schuette, J., … Porcari, J. P. (2015). The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training vs Steady State Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine14(4), 747–755.

Wewege Mvan den Berg RWard RE and Keech A , (2017) The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev, 18(6):635-646.

L.E. Skelly, P.C. Andrews, J.B. Gillen, B.J. Martin, M.E. Percival, and M.J. Gibala.* Department of Kinesiology, Ivor Wynne Centre, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. Corresponding author: Martin J. Gibala (e-mail: gibalam@mcmaster.ca). *All editorial decisions for this paper were made by Jennifer Jakobi and Terry Graham. Pagination not final (cite DOI) / Pagination provisoire (citer le DOI) 1 Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 39: 1–4 (2014) dx.doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2013-0562

Cardio is never fun but is a necessary evil that can add some much needed variety to your fitness regime. Powerhouse is committed to helping you every step along the way, and that includes providing you with a comprehensive range of supplements, quality gym apparel and in-depth advice. Get in touch with us today for the inside track to your best body.

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