If people want to stay fit and healthy, the first thing they think of to lose weight or to tone up and get that tight physique is to work in some cardio training to their fitness plan. In the workout realm, cardio exercises are a whole beast within itself to tackle.
Some people prefer a hard hitting high intensity level of interval training, which can consist of intervals paired with moderate intensity exercises. On the other end of the spectrum, some people enjoy doing a low intensity cardio workout that does not contain any type of sprinting or over exertion of energy. The big question for people is, which one is better for you? Everyone wants to reach their fitness goals, but what is the best way to achieve them?
High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity Interval Training, also known as HITT, is a workout that varies between short intense exercises with less-intense recovery time. It can be done during any cardio resistance training routine. HIIT can be used for weight lose goals or to improve aerobic endurance. It only takes 20 minutes and burns nine times more calories than an average workout. HIIT results in burning calories even after your workout is completed. Your metabolism is still raised, thus allowing your body to continue burning calories. You can lose this weight and keep it off.
Even though this appears to be a short amount of time for a training session, if you do the intervals correctly, you will feel completely worn out at the end. If you are an athlete you can try an explosive training routine that will enhance your athletic abilities. Gone are the long monotonous cardio sessions, make way for short interval training workouts. Some great HIIT exercises are planks, squats, dips, push-ups, and jumping jacks.
Low Intensity Steady State Training
Low-Intensity Steady State, also known as LISS, is a low intensity cardio workout that uses roughly 60% of your maximum heart rate effort. Some say that keeping a steady pace helps with weight loss. The exercises that would fit into LISS style training are walking, cycling, swimming, and a light jog. You can use any cardio equipment at a steady pace. A hike is also a great exercise that allows you to move at a comfortable pace for you, while not pushing yourself to any extremes.
Your body needs oxygen and by doing a low-intensity workout, more oxygen is available. Whichever exercises you choose, being able to hold a conversation during it will allow for you to gauge the intensity level you are at. With this type of training, people are more likely to stick to their fitness routine and accomplish the goals they have set.
What does this all mean?
During LISS exercises, the trend is that you have a temporary boost in losing a few pounds, but after that, it becomes stagnant. After that initial boost in weight loss, eating a low calorie diet and burning a flat calorie amount, equals itself out and therefore, prevents further weight loss.
In a HIIT workout, the muscle retention is higher due to activating all muscles lifting weights or doing sprint work. Studies have shown that by doing a HIIT workout, you get greater fat loss and by gaining a surge in metabolism, you are burning calories long after you stop training.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Systems
There are two types of energy systems your body uses. Aerobic energy system is when your body is using oxygen and employing it over a long period of time while you are working out. With a great amount of oxygen, you will have enough energy and not tire out as quickly. LISS training is utilizing mainly an aerobic energy system.
The other type is anaerobic energy system which the literal meaning is “without oxygen,” is the opposite of aerobic energy system. This is where you receive boosts of energy when you are going hard during a workout for short intervals. After doing a hard interval exercise, you recover with thirty seconds to a minute of rest. Due to the intensity, this type of training usually is not done daily. You can also use the ‘talk’ test to see if you are training anaerobically. To do this, try to have a conversation during your workout, if you cannot have a normal conversation and are gasping for breath, you are training anaerobically. HIIT uses both of these types of energy systems.
So! Which is better?
HIIT is more intense and therefore is more effective in burning calories, around 50% more than lower intensity workouts. You can burn a few hundred calories during LISS training or just cut out a few carbohydrates and save the same amount of calories without taking 30 minutes out of your day. To get the most from your workout, some feel burning more calories at a higher intensity is better than longer duration of low-intensity cardio workouts. Yet, building your aerobic fitness levels has many positives for your overall fitness ability too. Depending upon each person’s fitness goals, there is no right answer; each one is valuable in its own way.
What is best for you?
Each person needs to do what is best for their own body and fitness needs. Therefore, each person may have their own style of workouts that are best for them and their fitness goals. Some people have more time in their busy schedules than others, and therefore, each person’s workout routine will depend on how much time they have to devote to either of these training plans.
Doing a combination of both also has its overall benefits as well. It is hard to do a HIIT workout seven days a week, and usually most fitness programs require ‘light’ days; therefore, you can do a LISS workout in between some HIIT workouts. Additionally, if you have any injuries that prevent HIIT workouts, than LISS might be better for you. Incorporating different aspects and forming your training plan around the needs of your body is the right way to go.