The need to stay physically fit is becoming more overwhelming. Many people are beginning to recognize the importance of exercise to health. As an athlete or a fitness expert, what is the right approach to staying fit? Do you have to carry out high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or would you instead engage in low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS)?
We shall be comparing these two different fitness approaches to see which of them is suitable as an effective fitness strategy for sportspersons or individuals who love to stay physically fit.
Like we earlier stated, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. The performance of high-intensity interval training is based on these two broad principles:
- Alternating between rest periods and short work
- Performing an all-out exercise after work period.
Performing high-intensity interval training involves actively performing an exercise like running very fast on a treadmill for a short period of 30 secs, then reducing your pace to a simple walk for another 30 seconds and sprinting once again.
You may decide to alter the work to rest ratio to produce a high-intensity work out session.
A typical example is the Tabata training routine, which involves using a work to rest ratio of 2:1. This means that you work actively for 20 secs and rest for 10 secs.
Pros of the high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- It involves less work out time
According to a research carried out by fitness experts, a high-intensity interval training for a period of 4 minutes is 10% more effective than carrying out the conventional long-distance workout routine.
- HIIT is more effective in burning calories
Apart from being useful as a cardio improvement exercise, HIIT also helps to burn calories. Research findings show clearly the effectiveness of HIIT in burning calories about 6-15% more than the use of a steady-state training routine. HIIT is said to trigger the Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect.The EPOC effect means that your body works harder to be replenished after a high-intensity interval training. This means that you may continue to burn calories hours after completing your training program.
- HIIT helps to improve athletic performance
HIIT provides athletes with game style conditioning. It is like being in the real game itself, which may involve sudden bursts of energy followed by a period of rest.
Cons of High-intensity interval training
- It requires a lot of work
Sprinting hard may be a lot of work even though you do it for 30 seconds. Many people may not enjoy doing such hard work while training. It may be beneficial for athletes who may need such strenuous forms of exercise to get in shape. However, it may not be suitable for ordinary individuals who want to keep fit.
- It may be dangerous
HIIT provides a lot of benefits, but it may be hazardous, especially for first-timers who may not be used to such a high work rate. A study found that some persons may develop rhabdomyolysis (a muscle and kidney condition) accompanied by fever, vomiting, or nausea.
- It requires more time for recovery and may cause hormonal issues
Over-stressing your body may adversely affect your joints, muscles, and heart. It, therefore, requires a longer time for your body to recover fully. HIIT may also cause hormonal imbalance. You may experience high production of testosterone, epinephrine, cortisol, etc.
LISS refers to a low-intensity steady state. It involves carrying out aerobic activities for an extended period. By carrying out simple aerobic exercises such as swimming, dancing, walking, cycling, etc. your heart rate is slightly elevated.
Pros of Low-intensity steady-state
- It produces positive results
You may not need to move very quickly before you burn calories. Your distance covered plays a much more significant role in LISS than your overall speed.
- It is very safe
LISS is slow, which makes it easier to control your body movements than HIIT. LISS often involves sprinting or jumping. You have less risk of injury, unlike HIIT where you may pull a hamstring or develop any other form of damage due to its faster pace.
- It requires no recovery time
Due to the simplicity of carrying out the low-intensity steady-state exercise, the body requires little or no recovery time. There is less stress on the joints, muscles, and heart.
- You can do LISS anywhere
LISS is known as the ultimate convenience exercise. You do not have to be in the gym in order to participate in any LISS exercise.
Cons of LISS
We have mentioned many good reasons why LISS is the perfect exercise for you, but what are the drawbacks of low-intensity steady-state exercises?
- It made lead to a plateau
What we actually mean is that some people tend to stick to a particular exercise routine and wonder why there are no significant changes in their body. LISS may cause you not to challenge your body in ways that could lead to changes in your fitness and appearance.
- It does not produce EPOC
After a strenuous exercise, your body produces an excess post oxygen consumption effect, which ensures that your body continues to burn calories hours after your exercise. This is referred to as the after-burn effect. In the case of LISS, the body does not produce EPOC due to the low intensity of the exercise routine.
- It does not improve athletic performance
LISS may not be suitable for athletes seeking to improve their sporting performance. It may help you recover from a hard training session, but it does not provide the required speed, stamina, resilient, or other skills needed to improve athletic performance.
- Your metabolism may reduce over the long term
Every ounce of muscle added may seem to have a metabolic effect on your body. LISS is not suitable for building muscles. Instead, constant LISS exercise alone may cause your muscles to deteriorate, which may have an impact on your metabolism.
After careful analysis of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and the low-intensity steady state (LISS), which training routine is suitable for you? You best answer this question. Your preference is dependent on the results you are after. You may even choose to alternate between both exercises routines.
But whichever one you decide to choose, be sure to do it with moderation.