We’ve all heard of the incredible health benefits of HIIT cardio and how it can boost metabolism as well as spiking hormone response and fat burning. But HIIT is extremely taxing on the central nervous system, so is there another option for burning fat while still getting conditioned?
Look no further than LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio for your next gym outing. You’ll burn some serious calories, help your body recover from hitting the weights or other HIIT sessions throughout the week and even work your cardiovascular system all within one workout session. Given the following health benefits, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get LISS incorporated into your weekly routine.
How to Perform LISS
LISS is typically performed for a steady pace over a duration of 30-60 minutes with 30 minutes being the absolute minimum. Fat burning can occur once you hit the 20-minute mark, but overall conditioning of the heart and cardiovascular system doesn’t occur until you get up past constant movement of at least half an hour. Unlike with HIIT cardio, there is absolutely zero rest during this type of exercise. No work for 20 seconds and rest for double the work time- LISS cardio is straight work for a long period. For those who think that LISS is for the beginner or the under advanced within the gym, you’re absolutely wrong. Although it shouldn’t be your only tool in your toolbox, LISS can be performed almost everyday.
Depending on your fitness level, you really can pick any cardiovascular exercise to perform for a constant time period. If you’re like me, running or walking on the treadmill just isn’t for me. So, grab a stationary bike at the gym or grab your mountain bike from the house and take a spin for 30-45 minutes. Your intensity level should be around 30%-40% of your maximum output. Some say on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being lying on the couch watching TV and 10 be running for your life from an African lion, you should be slightly less than halfway in between the two.
The health benefits of low intensity steady state cardio differ from high intensity interval training in that it’s actual quite the opposite. With a HIIT workout, you’re not actually burning a majority of your calories during the actual work of the exercises. Rather, you’re burning calories throughout the rest of the next 24-hour period due to enhanced metabolic rate and overall boosted metabolism. With a typical LISS routine, the majority of the calories burned will all be within the time frame of you actually exercising. So if you’re trying to “burn off” some extra pie you had at grandma’s house yesterday, LISS may be the way to turn to.
One of the major benefits of performing LISS is the enhanced heart function. Your body is under constant work for at least 30-40 minutes and forces your heart to pump a strong, steady pace that will help with overall blood flow and even respiratory health. Another key point that can be made about LISS cardio is the lack of wear and tear it places on your body. If you think about a typical HIIT workout, it involves lots of high impact jumping, running, cutting and lifting. This is hard on your tendons and joints and over time will be harder and harder to recover fully if no breaks are taken from this type of work. With LISS, you can essentially perform it every single day if you choose. Whatever exercise you pick, whether it be biking, walking or swimming, are all extremely low impact and not hard on the physical part of the body. This part allows you to recover from weight lifting sessions as well as burn additional calories instead of taking a day off completely from the gym.
HIIT cardio is all the rage right now and definitely has its positive attributes, but should not be the only form of cardio you implement into your weekly routine. Low intensity steady state cardio should be used on a weekly basis to help with cardiovascular and just overall heart health, to burn fat while exercising and to also allow your body time to recover from the constant pounding that it takes on from the gym from week to week. Use LISS throughout the next week and see how it helps improve your performance inside the gym while lifting and outside the gym with just being in overall better shape. Give low intensity steady state cardio a try and you’ll be glad you did!