HIIT vs LISS
When it comes to cardio, are fast and furious intervals the way to go, or does low-intensity, steady-state win the race? WH finds out what’s best for fat loss
Fast and furious or slow and steady? WH applies the blowtorch to discover the best way to help burn stubborn fat
You need to work at 80 per cent of your max heart rate for it to count as “high-intensity”. Go all out, rest then repeat.
When you’re going hard and working anaerobically, it’s the fast-twitch muscles that are doing their thing. These are the ones you need to engage to build power and strength.
Your metabolism keeps burning kilojoules long after you hit the showers. A short daily session can cut 5 per cent body fat in just 45 days, according to researchers from Southern Illinois University in the US.
HIIT pushes your body to the max. A Psychology of Sport and
Exercise study revealed that participants with lower fitness levels found HIIT training less enjoyable. And you risk injuring yourself if it’s beyond your ability.
Consuming a snack with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of completing your HIIT workout is best for replacing energy stores and aiding recovery.
The expert verdict
“HIIT stimulates production of growth hormones and testosterone for muscle growth, and endorphins and adrenaline to help you keep up the pace. It also increases your ability to use fat,” says strength, conditioning and rehab coach Doug Tannahill.
You need to aim for 65 per cent of your max heart rate during a LISS session to hit the fat-burning zone.
LISS can be any form of lowintensity cardio where you maintain a constant pace. Slowtwitch fibres used during LISS provide their own energy, so you can work out for longer.
Any form of regular cardio strengthens your heart and lungs and builds endurance. Plus, a 2013 study comparing high- and low-intensity regimes found that a gentler approach was more likely to lead to long-term success.
If you’re not into it, LISS can feel like a chore. A study from the University of Florida found that those who varied their workouts enjoyed their session 45 per cent more than those who repeated the same workout. Mix it up.
Fasted or fed? According to a paper in the British Journal of Nutrition, fasted cardio may burn up to 20 per cent more fat than eating PRE-LISS. So, pile your plate post-workout.
The expert verdict
“Less abrasive on the body, LISS is a great way to keep active and burn fat while you’re recovering. But, when used alone, the body adapts quickly to the movement and its rhythmic cardio pattern, so the benefit is limited,” says master trainer Abi Dewberry.
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