HIIT Vs LISS is not an entirely helpful dichotomy and it really does depend a lot on personal preference. For me, LISS is more beneficial as it means burning off a few extra calories without having to deal with the recovery time that comes with HIIT (also, I’m really not a fan of HIIT). However, both have their positives. Here’s what you need to know…
For starters, cardio should not be an ‘add on’. It is easy to throw cardio in at the end of a workout and not really consider whether you are doing it at the most beneficial times for you. Make sure you take your cardio (if you decide to do it) as seriously as you are taking your weight training in order to see the full benefits of both of the different types of training.
When it comes to maintaining muscle, there is little reason to fear HIIT and LISS. HIIT is anaerobic and therefore is perhaps most similar to weight training. In it’s truest sense, HIIT is difficult to do. It requires complete recover before going into immediate intensity, both of which are pretty tough to do in reality. Hypothetically, HIIT is better for maintaining muscles, however, this is not always the case and other factors need to be taken into account. A big one for me is recovery. My body does not allow me to do an intense HIIT session and then get right back to the weights the next day, therefore, also the HIIT itself was not causing breakdown in muscle, the long recovery time is likely to have an impact. If the intensity is really low, however, this recovery time is not needed to the same extent and also is not likely to have much of an impact on muscle loss. Being realistic, for general people (like myself), this will not cause too much of an issue.
Ultimately, to retain muscle you are looking for either really low or really high intensity. It is when you are doing cardio ‘in-between’ these two stages that the problems will occur. Of course, it depends entirely on your goals and this was solely focused upon muscle maintenance. I recently spoke with a personal trainer at my gym who said HIIT was the best option for me to be burning fat and keeping muscle and I should avoid LISS, which was different to my research. This does not necessarily mean that either are wrong, but it is finding what works best for you in your individual programme. I will certainly be giving their suggestions and try and seeing how I find it.
I’ll be honest, cardio has really started to grow on me recently but I think that is because I am trying new things all the time and keeping variation within my programme. There are loads of fun ways to burn fat without jumping on a treadmill so have a think because, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and enjoyment. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing you are less likely to keep it up.
What sort of cardio do you guys enjoy? Do you prefer HIIT or LISS? Let me know below.