What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is fast becoming one of the most popular training routines in many gyms. This training has a strong focus on cardiovascular exercise through the use of short, intense periods of anaerobic exercise with lower intensity recovery exercises in between until exhaustion. Typically a HIIT session can last anywhere up to 30 minutes but depends on overall fitness levels of the participants. With this being said, it can take more self-motivation to carry out this high intensity activity.

What are the proven benefits of HIIT?

  • Increased Cardiovascular Fitness (VO2 Max)
  • Improved Body Composition
  • Increased Fat Oxidation (Fat Loss)
  • Has Shown to Improve Cognition (Brain Power)

What is Low Intensity Steady State Training?

Low intensity steady state (LISS) training has been the foundation of many peoples weight loss journeys and hugely common in gyms. This training again has a focus on the cardiovascular system, however it is quite the opposite of HIIT. LISS training involves maintaining a form of low intensity exercise for a set period of time without deviation. Again the length of the session is very much dependant on personal fitness levels, however you can expect a much longer session when performing LISS due to less stress on the body.

What are the proven benefits of LISS?

  • Increased Cardiovascular Fitness (VO2 Max)
  • Lower Resting Heart Rate
  • Easier to Adhere to
  • Increased Fat Oxidation (Fat Loss)
  • Decreased Recovery Times (Increased Blood Circulation)

How do they effect Fat Loss?

Whilst both exercise types have Fat Loss at the heart, they both go about it in different ways. HIIT aims to raise your heart rate quickly creating an ‘after burn effect’ which means your body is still burning calories and fat long after you have finished exercising. LISS on the other hand has the advantage of providing your body with greater levels of oxygen during the low intensity workout which is imperative in the breakdown of fats, meaning more fat loss.

So what is best for you?

If you are short on time and enjoy the feeling of pushing your body to its limits then HIIT is definitely for you. If you prefer a more relaxing approach to fitness or you struggle with motivation then LISS will be the best option. However to separate the two and say it is one or the other would be a mistake. For the best results, try to push your body out of its comfort zone and utilise as many different types of exercise as you can. There is nothing wrong with doing both!