You’ve probably seen High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, advertised across social media and the news as this “brand new way to burn fat FAST.” The truth is HIIT is not a new concept, and it isn’t some magical 10 minute only fat burning unicorn either.
So, what is HIIT?
HIIT is a type of training that involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by short periods of rest. You can time your intervals however you want, but some popular time periods to follow are 20s on/10s off (Tabata – only 4 minutes total!), 45s on/15s off, 1m on/1m off, 1m on/2m off.
The idea behind HIIT is to do the exercise portion at the highest amount of effort you can give and then allow your body to recover, and your energy stores to recharge, before going again. Because you are working literally as hard as physically possible, you do not need to exercise for a long amount of time: 30 minutes is the max you should attempt to do any HIIT workout.
Some great ways to do HIIT include running sprints, utilizing speed drills, and body weight plyometric exercises like squat jumps.
LIIS, on the other hand, stands for Low Intensity Steady State training. This type of training includes long runs, going for a walk, or slogging for awhile on an elliptical or stair stepper at a steady pace.
LISS has it’s benefits, too. It’s typically lower impact and can be done anywhere. Most gyms have a cardio room set up that lends itself to LISS training. It isn’t ineffective, but it does require spending more time. LISS sessions typically last 20-60 minutes.
So which is better? There’s a time and a place for everything. You can do either type of cardio training 2-3 times per week. Utilize HIIT when you don’t have a lot of time, or when you have zero desire to be on a piece of cardio equipment for a long period of time. Utilize LISS when you’re working toward an endurance goal or when you enjoy spending time doing cardio, like taking a long walk.