Should you be adding LISS to your workout?
LISS, or Low Intensity Steady State cardio, has been cropping up all over Instagram recently - think of it as a less well-known relative of HIIT. In fact, it's the exact opposite of High Intensity Interval Training. Instead of pushing yourself to the max in short bursts, it's all about low-intensity exercise over a longer period.
The origins of LISS
The term LISS has its roots in the bodybuilding industry, and was made famous by Kayla Itsines' (Bikini Guide queen) personal trainer. LISS is continuous, steady training that's ideal for boosting your overall health and well-being, although the actual speed and intensity of your workout will depend on your current level of fitness.
So what workouts count as LISS cardio?
Low-endurance workouts such as cycling, swimming, walking or even hiking at a relaxed pace are all great options - you're not pushing your body to hard and you're exercising at a less intense pace than normal.
Should you add LISS to your workout?
LISS is great for burning fat and weight loss - it affects the body differently to HIIT, so if your goal is to lose weight slowly and steadily or get gradually fitter and healthier, LISS could be for you. In order for our bodies to metabolise fat, they need oxygen. The lower intensity the exercise, the more oxygen is made available for our bodies to use to break down fat. When you're doing a high-intensity workout, your body has access to less available oxygen, so it will turn to other energy sources such as carbs, which it will burn for fuel.
Try some LISS cardio today
You should aim to add 30 to 60 minutes of LISS to your workout routine, twice or more a week, to encourage your body to burn fat stores. Good examples of LISS cardio include:
- Cross trainer/elliptical machine sessions
- Fast walking or slow jogging
- Moderate swimming - in the pool or in the sea on holiday!
- Walking up stairs or using a stepper machine
- Steady rowing/using rowing machine
- Steady cycling
- Hill walking/incline on treadmill
The benefits and risks of LISS
Many people find LISS training is easier than completing an HIIT workout. That's because it's not as physically demanding and it's less intense, so if you're new to fitness, older or recovering from injury, it's a great option. Lower-intensity workouts are also ideal if you're concerned about a recurring injury, such as a knee or back injury - they can help to strengthen the body before you move onto more intense exercise and they're less likely to actually cause an injury,
But LISS training can be boring for some people and if you lead a busy lifestyle and are always on-the-go, you may struggle to find time for LISS workouts. There's also the risk of higher muscle wastage compared to an HIIT workout, which can help increase muscle retention.
HIIT or LISS?
Whichever you choose, both have great benefits for your body and your fitness.
Choose HIIT if you're:
- Short on time and looking for a workout that gives you results, fasts
- Looking to tone and shape your body with noticeable results, quickly
- Are already into fitness
- Don't have any existing injuries
- Are looking for a high-intensity workout that will push you to the max, in minimum time
Why not try our 6-minute HIIT workout for yourself?
Choose LISS if you're:
- Recovering from an injury or concerned about an old injury
- Looking for long-term, steady weight loss and an improvement in your fitness levels
- Are new to fitness or are older
- Are looking for a low-intensity workout which takes longer to complete at a more relaxed pace
LISS definitely has its benefits - so if you give it a go and get great results, get in touch on Twitter to let us know!