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Which Type Of Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss?

LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) vs HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

We all wonder what's the most effective way to lose weight, LISS (low intensity steady state cardio) or HIIT (high intensity interval training)? First off, remember that if you want to lose fat you will have to be in a caloric deficit.

Difference between fat loss and weight loss

Losing fat and losing weight are two different things.

  • Losing fat: simply means you are trying to lose some body fat percentage for health purposes, feel better or look leaner.
  • Losing weight: weight loss can also occur when you've lost fat loss, muscle tissue, or simply water.

So think twice when you say "I lost 10 pounds in 1 week", it can be fat loss, muscle loss or simply water loss.

What is LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio)?

With LISS, you choose an aerobic exercise that you perform at 60%-70% of your maximal capacity for 20 minutes or more. The speed typically remains the same during the whole exercise.

Here are some activities you can do as a steady state cardio:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical
  • Swimming

Here's an example of LISS training:

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What is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?

With HIIT, you must execute a certain exercise at your maximal capacity for a short period of time (10-15 seconds for example). Then you rest for about the double of time you spent performing the exercises (20-30 seconds for example). You repeat this cycle 5-15 times depending on your fitness level.

Here are some exercises you can easily do HIIT with:

  • Sprints
  • Intervals on stationary bike
  • Battle rope
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jumping jacks

Here's an example of HIIT training:

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Lose fat with LISS

It's recommended to run between 30 minutes and 60 minutes in order to obtain good results. Research has shown that running for 45 minutes and more, seems to be the best duration in order to use fat as a source of energy. LISS is a simple way of burning more calories for beginners.

Lose fat with HIIT

Research has shown that HIIT allows you to burn a lot of calories in a shorter time that steady state cardio. Since HIIT require general strength and activates more muscles, it can potentially help you build more muscle mass. You need to keep in mind that it will put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. So if you're overweight or preparing for a fitness competition, you might want to stay away from HIIT so you can prevent getting injured.

LISS vs HIIT

At the end of the day, it's up to you to choose what kind of cardio training you want to do.

LISS and HIIT are effective for fat loss and they both have pros and cons:

LISS:

  • Pros:
    • Easy to do.
    • Doesn't put too much stress on your body.
    • Low risk of injury.
  • Cons:
    • It can be feel boring and repetitive

HIIT:

  • Pros:
    • Burns more calories.
    • Builds lean muscle mass.
    • It's shorter, so you don't get bored.
  • Cons
    • High risk of injury.
    • Puts a lot of stress on your body.

In summary

Let's summarize what we've just learned:

  • LISS: Low Intensity Steady State Cardio
  • HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training
  • Caloric deficit is key for fat loss.
  • Cardio trainings increases your endurance, lower your blood pressure, helps you burn calories, increase your metabolism and prevent heart diseases.
  • Weight loss and fat loss are two different things.
  • LISS are exercises that you perform at 60%-70% of your maximal capacity for 20 minutes or more.
  • HIIT are exercises that you perform at your maximal capacity for a short period of time in an interval fashion.
  • They are very efficient to help you burn more calories, you can add them both in your workout routine.
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